Abertis Quits PA Turnpike Deal

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish infrastructure company Abertis (ABE.MC) has withdrawn its bid to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as head of a consortium for the largest U.S. toll-road deal, sources close to the group’s board said Tuesday.

The consortium, which also includes Citigroup (C.N), was named preferred bidder in May after offering $12.8 billion to lease the highway for 75 years.

Abertis’ board is due to decide by midnight in the United States on Tuesday whether to turn over credit lines arranged to pay for the project.

Abertis would have controlled half the project, Citigroup 41.67 percent and Spain’s La Caixa’s holding company Criteria (CRIT.MC) the remainder.

Earlier, the broker BPI said in a note that it expected the project would be delayed until next year.

“Considering the evolution of credit market conditions and given the window of opportunity to jump out, we believe that it is most unlikely that Abertis will go through with the project,” BPI said.

ACS (ACS.MC) and Criteria, which have representatives on Abertis’ board, declined to comment. (Reporting by Carlos Ruano. Writing by Paul Day, Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Gerald E. McCormick)