Spain’s Abertis considers to sell UK airports in move to cut debt

Spanish mobility and telecom infrastructures manager Abertis Infraestructuras SA (MCE:ABE) is considering divesting its UK airports as one of the options under a strategic review aimed at cutting its EUR14.1bn (USD18.6bn) debt, a company spokesman revealed.

Abertis has been in talks with the Welsh government concerning the sale of its Cardiff airport over the past three months and expects to get an offer of around GBP50m (USD75.8m/EUR57.3m) in March. It could also divest Belfast airport and the contract to run the Luton airport.

Abertis has hired Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and AZ Capital SL to advise it on its alternatives related to the sale of non-core assets.

The airports division, which comprises 29 airports worldwide, accounted for 8% of the group’s total revenues of EUR4bn in 2012.

Spain to offload stake in satellite operator Hispasat to Abertis

The Spanish government plans to dispose of its interest in local satellite operator Hispasat SA, selling the stake to Abertis Infraestructuras SA (MCE:ABE), Spanish news agency Europa Press reported.

The state owns 25% of Hispasat’s stock via several public sector entities. They are Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (the National Institute of Space Technology, or INTA) with an interest of 16.42%; Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (the State Company for Industrial Shareholdings, or SEPI) with 7.41% and Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnologico e Industrial (the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development, or CDTI) with 1.85%.

Abertis – the Spanish operator of toll roads, airports and telecommunications infrastructures – currently owns 47% of Hispasat’s shares. The company increased its holding in February, when it acquired the stake held by telecommunications giant Telefonica SA (MCE:TEF). French-based Eutelsat Communications SA has an interest of 27.69%.

Europa Press cited SEPI president Ramon Aguirre as saying that members of the government had already agreed among themselves to greenlight the deal.

Hispasat was established in 1989, starting out with the objective of providing broadcast services to the Spanish and Portuguese language markets. Over the years, the company has kept expanding its satellite fleet and its portfolio of products and services. It now provides audio-visual, corporate, government, broadband and consultancy services, operating in markets across Europe, Latin America and North America.