VIENNA/MADRID – Alpine Bau, the insolvent Austrian arm of Spanish construction group FCC , faces being broken up after the failure of late-night talks to save the company in its current form, putting up to 5,000 jobs at risk.
The head of Alpine Bau's works council, Hermann Haneder, said on Monday that a consortium of rival builders is now looking at taking over parts of the company, either as provincial divisions or for individual projects.
"The question is, will the workers be kept on when the projects are finished?" said Haneder, who took part in the last-ditch talks.
The consortium includes Austrian builders Strabag , Porr , Swietelsky , Habau and Felbermayr, Haneder said.
Porr, which was in talks to buy parts of Alpine Bau when it announced its insolvency last week, said that it is still in negotiations.
"We cannot say anything at present about the number of workers and projects," a Porr spokeswoman wrote in an email, adding that the company would take over any joint projects on which it had been working with Alpine.
Strabag said it was not interested in assets but was assessing whether certain projects might be of interest.
Alpine Bau did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
FCC finally pulled the plug on Alpine last week after pouring hundreds of millions of euros into the company, which had taken on risky projects in central and eastern Europe and was unable to sell assets to raise cash.
The Spanish builder said on Monday that it had legally separated its Alpine Energie unit, which provides energy infrastructure and services, from Alpine Bau, meaning that any sale proceeds will go to FCC rather than Alpine Bau's creditors.
A source close to FCC said the sale process was on track and due diligence about to start, with indicative offers already received and a decision expected at the end of September.
FCC has not said what price it expects to get for the Germany-based energy unit, which has turnover of 485 million euros ($637 million) and about 2,500 employees. ($1 = 0.7612 euros)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Angelika Gruber in Vienna and Jose Rodriguez in Madrid; Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman)