Spanish Ministries Request Atlantia Bid For Abertis to Be Revoked

By Alberto Delclaux Features Dow Jones Newswires

Two Spanish ministries requested the country's market authority to annul or revoke its authorization of the Atlantia SpA (ATL.MI) bid for Abertis Infraestructuras SA (ABE.MC), the market authority said Thursday.

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The Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda and the Ministry of Public Works say the deal should not have been given the green light by the National Securities Market Commission--Spain's market regulator--without their prior consent. The ministries said that Atlantia should have asked for their authorization to take control over the Abertis-owned Spanish highway concessionaires and Hispasat SA, which operates satellites. The ministries are now requesting Atlantia asks for government authorization.

The market authority has a month to answer, it said.

The Ministry of Public Works said that Hochtief AG (HOT.XE)--the other bidder for Abertis--had sent a an authorization request to the two ministries, which is currently being reviewed.

According to the National Securities Market Commission, the acceptance period for Atlantia's bid is currently on hold until the competing offer presented by Hochtief is greenlit by the market authority.

Write to Alberto Delclaux at alberto.delclaux@dowjones.com

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Two Spanish ministries said Thursday that they asked the country's market regulator--the CNMV--to annul or revoke its authorization of Atlantia SpA's (ATL.MI) bid for Abertis Infraestructuras SA (ABE.MC).

The Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda and the Ministry of Public Works have given the CNMV a month to reply to the request, having said that the CNMV shouldn't have approved the deal without their prior consent.

The ministries said that Atlantia was legally obliged to seek their authorization to take control over Abertis, as the company operates the majority of the country's toll roads, and requested that Atlantia now asks for government authorization to proceed with its bid.

Abertis also owns a majority stake in satellite company Hispasat SA, which the government views as a strategically-important national asset.

Atlantia said it has always complied with the CNMV's requirements and that it had previously told the two ministries that it would provide them with any information and documentation relating to the Abertis bid.

"We remain available to discuss any requirements of the government in this aspect," the company said in a statement.

The Ministry of Public Works said that Hochtief AG (HOT.XE)--the other bidder for Abertis--had sent an authorization request to the two ministries, which is currently being reviewed.

Atlantia's bid received the CNMV's approval in October, but Abertis doesn't have to issue a response until Hochtief's competing bid is approved by the regulator.

Write to Alberto Delclaux at alberto.delclaux@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2017 05:20 ET (10:20 GMT)