EMEA: Infra fund heavyweights to bid for bust Spanish toll roads

28 March 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

The planned sale of eight Spanish motorway concessions is understood to have already attracted a long list of infrastructure heavyweights, ahead of a tender launch expected during the summer.

Alongside GlobalviaPSP Investments-owned ROADIS and Ardian’s Ascendi – which emerged as potential bidders earlier this year – other groups are understood to have expressed interest in the EUR 800m–EUR 1bn sale.

They include AbertisIFM Investors via OHL Concesiones, Cintra, potentially in a consortium where they would have a minority stake but running operations, Meridiam, Macquarie and UBS.

UBS entered the Spanish motorway’s sector last year by acquiring Autovía del Camino from Deutsche Asset Management.

One source also mentioned First State and Itínere Infraestructuras as potentially interested, although it is unclear whether the latter will actually be involved, despite having shown interest. Its minority shareholders have launched an arbitration against majority shareholder Corsair Capital’s Gateway Infrastructure Partners. They are seeking to sell their stake and are unlikely to commit to new acquisitions, one source said. Last year, Corsair rejected a bid from Globalvia and Macquarie to sell the company, as reported.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Development’s transport agency SEITT is continuing to take back the eight motorways as their liquidation process ends. It has already taken over Radial 4 (21 February), Radial 2 (1 March) and AP-36 Ocaña-La Roda (14 March).

On 1 April, it will take over AP-7 Cartagena-Vera (Aucosta) and the Alicante Bypass (Ciralsa), followed by M-12 Madrid-Barajas Airport toll road (expected on 11 April). Radial 3 and Radial 5, both operated by Accesos de Madrid, is expected to be taken back on 10 May, which would only leave Madrid Toledo (AP-41), which is still within the insolvency phase and yet to formally enter liquidation.

This means that seven out of the eight projects will definitely be included in the sale package, with the A-41 concession to be included if and when its liquidation is confirmed.

The Ministry of Development, also known as Fomento, is understood to be currently preparing its tender, with bidding documents and traffic studies being finalised by its advisers. A tender is expected to be launched around mid-June, it is understood.

The eight motorways are due to be rentendered under a 25-year concession contract. The Ministry expects to sell them as two packages, one including the three radial road concessionaires around Madrid as well as the three additional motorways (M-12, AP-36 and AP-41); and one including the two concessions that run along the Mediterranean coast: AP-7 Cartagena-Vera (Aucosta) and the Alicante Bypass (Ciralsa).

Separately, it will continue discussions with the existing creditors of the bankrupt motorways. Last monthInframation reported that these creditors have urged the government not to delay any further the calculation of how much it owes them.

These creditors, which include hedge funds Taconic Capital, SVP Global, King Street Capital Management and Attestor Capital, have in mind a figure of some EUR 4.5bn, whilst the Ministry of Development (Fomento) would pay a figure of around EUR 2bn. The funds, which are being advised by Houlihan Lokey, are expected to challenge that figure in court.