By Nathan Allen
Shareholders in Abertis Infraestructuras have voted in favor of the company selling its 57% stake in Hispasat to Spain's national grid operator Red Electrica Corp. SA (>> company sheet), potentially removing a major hurdle in the bidding war for the highway operator.
The sale is contingent on Abertis receiving a binding offer in excess of 656 million euros ($808.3 million) for the stake. Red Electrica Corp. has previously expressed an interest but hasn't submitted a binding offer.
Abertis shareholders also voted to pass to Red Electrica an obligation to buy a further stake in Hispasat from Eutelsat Communications. Abertis had agreed in May 2017 to buy a 34% stake in Hispasat from the French communications provider, but the deal has yet to receive government approval.
Abertis's two suitors--Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA (>> company sheet) and Atlantia--have similarly struggled to gain government approval for their bids, partly because Hispasat is considered strategic national infrastructure, making any sale subject to a separate review by the Ministry of Energy.
Shareholders in Abertis also approved a EUR0.40 per share dividend, which will trigger a EUR0.40 per share reduction in the value of ACS's offer, which it submitted via its German subsidiary Hochtief in October.
The offer, which was approved by Spain's market regulator Monday, is now valued at EUR18.36 per share, compared with its initial value of EUR18.76 a share.
Abertis has 30 days from the date of approval to respond to the bid, during which time ACS or Atlantia can improve their respective offers.
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