ACS boosts stake in Hochtief
Madrid, December 26, 2010
Top Spanish builder ACS has cleared the way to own 30 per cent of German peer Hochtief, a threshold that allows the Spanish predator to build a controlling stake in the open market.
ACS, saddled with a heavy debt load of more than 9 billion euros ($12 billion), will be strengthened if it can consolidate Hochtief's strong balance sheet as it moves to reduce its exposure to Spain and gain size to win big international deals.
ACS said on Thursday it had built up its stake to 27.72 per cent of the voting rights in Germany's biggest builder.
A source close to the deal said that figure did not include a 2.5 per cent stake in Hochtief that Southeastern Asset Management has pledged to tender to ACS's takeover bid.
Under German regulations, a 30 per cent stake gives ACS the right to buy shares in the market without renewing its bid and without making further disclosures on its holding in Hochtief as it tries to build a controlling stake of more than 50 per cent.
Neither ACS, headed by Real Madrid soccer club president Florentino Perez and with projects from a dam in Puerto Rico to a Spain-France high-speed train, nor Hochtief would comment further on the matter.
Hochtief's real estate, facilities and infrastructure projects stretch across Asia, Australia, the US and the Gulf region, an opportunity to diversify geographically for the Spanish builder whose portfolio is centred on Europe.-Reuters