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Roadis, the Spanish highway concessionaire controlled by the Canadian pension fund PSP, has entered the bid to buy 80% of the Portuguese operator Brisa, with a value exceeding 1,500 million euros, according to business sources. The firm headed by José Antonio Labarra, who declined to comment, joins Abertis and Globalvia, the other two Spanish companies that have submitted non-binding offers, as he advanced the Economist last December.

Roadis, former Isolux Infrastructure, is already present in Portugal. It materialized its entry two years ago with the purchase to MSF Group and Lena Group of a control stake in Auto Estradas do Atlantico (AEA), manager of two direct toll roads (A8 and A15) with a total of 170 kilometers, and Auto Estradas do Litoral Oeste (AELO), consisting of a series of highways that facilitate the connection between the main north-south roads of Portugal, including the A1, A8 and A17, in the region of Leiria, with a total length of 112 kilometers and under a payment model for availability. The value of 100% of these concessionaires amounted, at the time of the transaction, to 743 million.

Roadis now plans to redouble its commitment to the Portuguese market after in recent months it has tried several operations in Spain without any having fructified. In this regard, it presented a non-binding offer for the six shadow toll roads that Iridium (ACS) put up for sale, but eventually withdrew from the process.

Roadis, which has the financial backing of its shareholder, won the award last year to build and operate the Santa Catarina urban viaduct, in Mexico, with an investment of more than 300 million euros. It is also in negotiations to increase its position in India, one of the company's priority markets.

Abertis, Globalvia and Roadis are the three Spanish groups that have entered the phase of non-binding offers to take over 80% of Brisa that the José Mello Group has put up for sale (it holds 52.7% of the capital directly and indirect and expects to keep around 20%) and the Arcus investment fund (it has 37.35% of the Portuguese firm). The three moved their proposals on December 19 along with other international firms. Specifically, in the process they are also immersed, as Mergermarkets has collected, the Dutch pension fund APG, maximum shareholder of the Spanish concessionaire Itínere; the French fund Ardian and the Italian Gavio, which formed the Nuova Argo Finanziaria company in the summer of 2018; the Australian Macquarie fund, the Canadian pension funds CDPQ and CPPIB; the Japanese Marubeni and consortium composed of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, CNIC Corporation and the Cooperation Fund between China and the African Countries of Portuguese Official Language (Palop).

It is expected that from the ten proposals received, the sellers will select five of them in the next few days to present their binding offers. Market sources point to the possibility of alliances being formed.

1,628 kilometers of highways

Brisa manages 1,628 kilometers in Portugal spread over 17 highways, 6 national roads and 6 additional routes. It has six concessions (Brisa Concessão Rodoviária BCR, Atlantico, Litoral Oeste, Baixo Tejo, Brisal and Douro Litoral). In addition, it has interests in companies in service areas, collection systems (Via Verde), call centers (M Call), car inspection (Controlauto), technological solutions for mobility (A-to-Be), investments (TIIC, along with Millennium and Rothschild) or 'carsharing' (DriveNow).

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