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Citi fund buying Spanish highways for $10 billion

December 01, 2008
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A Citigroup infrastructure fund is bidding 7.9 billion euros to buy a Spanish highway operating firm, according to MarketWatch. Citi Infrastructure Partners is buying most of Itinere Infraestructuras from Sacyr Vallehermoso, a Spanish construction group eagerly trying to shed debt as the Spanish housing market weakens. The same company is in talks with Russia''s Lukoil to sell a minority stake in oil group Repsol. The deal sees the Citi fund assume 5 billion euros of debt and pay 2.87 billion euros of cash in a transaction that will slash Sacyr''s debt load by as much as 37%. It''s paying 3.96 euros per Itinere share in a complex deal that will see the fund initially purchase a 42.8% stake, and then an 11.6% stake. Sacyr also will buy back some highway concessions from Citi that are in a ramp-up phase for 450 million euros. The Citi fund is then going to sell some highways it''s buying to Abertis Infraestructuras and Atlantia in a deal worth about 1 billion euros. Abertis is buying 621 million euros of highways in Spain and Chile, and Atlantia is buying 420 million euros of highways in Chile and Brazil. Itinere operates 44 infrastructure concessions in seven countries, notably Spain, Portugal, Chile and Brazil. The move by the Citi fund comes after a failed attempt with Abertis to run the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The fund also is actively involved in the airports sector.

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