ACS Selling Part of Abertis Stake to CVC

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish builder ACS (ACS.MC) is set to sign a 3 billion euro ($4 billion) deal to sell part of its stake in infrastructure group Abertis (ABE.MC) to CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL], Expansion newspaper reported.

 

A new joint venture, in which Luxembourg-based fund CVC would hold a 60 percent stake and ACS 40 percent, would buy ACS’s 26 percent stake in Abertis, the newspaper said on Monday, citing sector sources.

 

An ACS spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

 

The Spanish constructor has been seeking to divest non-core businesses such as infrastructure management, and to focus more on the energy sector, in which it operates wind farms and is a shareholder of power utility Iberdrola (IBE.MC).

 

On Friday, it said it had sold the Spanish assets of its Dragados ports unit for over 720 million euros to a group of institutional investors advised by the asset management arm of U.S. investment bank JP Morgan (JPM.N).

 

The formation of the ACS-CVC venture to buy the builder’s Abertis stake could be announced this week or the following week, with the two companies putting 1-1.5 billion euros into it. The rest of the capital needed would come from bank debt, Expansion said.

 

The divestment of its Abertis stake involves added difficulties since the infrastructure group is a flagship of Catalan investment, which ACS shares control over with the autonomous region’s powerful savings bank La Caixa.

 

An earlier three-way deal between La Caixa, ACS and CVC to launch a debt-funded buyout for the minorities of Abertis was reported to have been scrapped at the end of July, sending Abertis shares lower.

 

ACS said in a conference call after its first-half results in July that it was considering several alternatives for its Abertis stake and could announce a deal soon.

 

By 0805 GMT, Abertis shares were up 1.18 percent at 34.6 euros and ACS shares were up 1.68 percent at 13.3 euros, compared with a 1.4 percent gain on Madrid’s blue chip IBEX .IBEX index. ($1=.7577 Euro) (Reporting by Jonathan Gleave; Editing by Sharon Lindores)