Ferrovial books substantial gain from Swissport sale

By Judy MacInnes and Robert Hetz

MADRID (BestGrowthStock) – Debt-laden Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial expects to book a substantial capital gain from the sale of its Swissport International AG subsidiary for 654 million euros ($914 million) to a private equity firm.

Ferrovial said on Tuesday it was selling Swissport, the world’s largest passenger and handling company, to Pai Partners.

Its shares were up 0.9 percent at 8.31 euros at 1000 GMT, outpacing a 0.2 percent drop on the blue-chip IBEX index.

“The exact amount of capital gains depends amongst other things on the exchange rate, but it will be a substantial amount,” a Ferrovial spokesman said, adding that when Swissport was bought in 2005 it had an equity value of 336 million euros.

The enterprise value of the operation is about 880 million euros, Ferrovial said.

“The disposal of Swissport is good news for the stock, both from a strategic and financial point of view,” BPI analysts said in a research note. “The price obtained is very positive … the deal shows management continues to rotate assets which are mature to invest in new assets with higher upside potential in terms of valuation.”

Swissport’s sale is part of a wide-ranging asset disposal program by Ferrovial aimed at lightening its debt pile.

“Swissport’s good results and track record have attracted investors’ interest, offering an opportunity to execute this transaction as part of our asset rotation strategy,” chief executive Inigio Meiras said.

Last week, Ferrovial said it planned to sell a 10 percent stake in BAA, Britain’s largest airport operator, to let it cut net debt by more than half. The Swissport transaction was expected to close by early next year, pending approval by competition authorities and Pai Partners finalizing its funding structure for the acquisition.

Revenues from the operation will be earmarked for future growth plans, the spokesman said.

(Editing by Dan Lalor)

($1 = 0.7158 euro)

Ferrovial books substantial gain from Swissport sale