Questions raised over continuation of Brisa sale

31 March 2020 - 12:00 am UTC

Arcus Infrastructure Partners and José de Mello are pressing on with their sale of a combined 80% stake in Portugal’s largest toll road operator Brisa, despite plunging traffic flows due to COVID-19, uncertainty over how much the assets are worth, and turbulence in the debt markets.

Just a week remains before a deadline for final offers, which is currently set for 8 April, according to two people familiar with the situation.

It also takes place as other large infrastructure M&A deals have halted over recent weeks amid the coronavirus emergency, including France’s largest fibre optic sale to date, as sellers weigh whether they would get a better price once the storm caused by the coronavirus has passed.

Brisa’s sellers have given no indication so far that they would change their course of action and pause the deal, according to several sources following the process. But there might be reasons to do so. After months-long preparations for the sale, Arcus and Mello risk seeing the value of their 1,525km toll roads eroded significantly.

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