Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government earned €309.6 million on Friday by privatising the public companies Tabasa and Túnels del Cadí, which exploit highways accessing Barcelona and the Pyrenees. This operation had been included in the Catalan Executive’s budget approved last spring with the objective of reducing the 2012 deficit and meeting the imposed 1.5% deficit target. On the 5th of December, the Catalan Executive allocated the public tender to privatise Tabasa and Túnels del Cadí to the joint venture formed by Invicat (owned by Abertis) and the Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual. On Friday, the deal was completed and the Catalan Government cashed in €309.6 million, representing 72% of the total of the €430 million operation. The remaining amount will be paid at the end of the concession period, which will last for the next 25 years. The operation includes the tolls at the Vallvidrera highway tunnels accessing Barcelona and those at the Cadí tunnel, in the Cerdanya County, in the Pyrenees. The Catalan Government will continue to own the infrastructures but it will transfer the management and exploitation during this time to the private company. This means that the two public companies will effectively disappear, reducing the number of public companies depending on the Catalan Executive. Also, on Thursday, the Catalan Government and Acciona signed the agreement for the privatisation of the water supply company ATLL, which meant an immediate gain of €300 million in 2012 and a gradual revenue of €700 million divided up over the next 50 years (with annual inflation updates). With these two operations, the Catalan Government earned €609.6 million in 2012, representing around 0.3% of Catalonia’s GDP.
The Catalan Government’s Finance Ministry announced via a press release on Friday that the operation to privatise Tabasa and Túnels del Cadí has been completed, resulting in the immediate gain of €309.6 million. The joint venture formed by Invicat (Infraestructures Viàries de Catalunya, owned by the Catalan multinational Abertis) and the Brazilian investment bank has already transferred 72% of the total amount of the operation. The initial amount was supposed to be 70% of the total amount but following negotiations it was raised to 72% with the condition of paying the remaining 28% at the end of the 25-year concession period. Furthermore, the agreement now includes a 6% annual interest rate to be paid by the private company each year over the entire period. The joint venture will now be in charge of maintaining the road infrastructures and in exchange it will run the highway tolls, which are some of the most expensive ones in Catalonia.
According to the press release, this privatisation “is an example of cooperation between the public and the private sector”, as the Catalan Government has given away the exploitation rights for 25 years but will still own the infrastructure, and therefore they will continue to be publicly-owned highways. Besides, the two public companies in charge of running each of the two highways will be dissolved, which will contribute to the reduction in the number of bodies depending on the Catalan Executive.
Earning another €300 million from Acciona for the privatisation of ATLL
Apart from Tabasa and Túnels del Cadí, a few weeks ago the Catalan Government also allocated the privatisation of Aigües Ter-Llobregat (ATLL), the publicly-owned company supplying water to Greater Barcelona, an area of almost 5 million people. As announced in early November, the public tender was allocated to the joint venture led by Acciona. The definitive agreement was signed yesterday and the private company transferred the foreseen €300 million, representing 30% of the total of the €1 billion operation. The remaining €700 million will be gradually paid each year over the 50-year concession, with inflation updates. With these two deals being completed on Thursday and Friday, the Catalan Government earned €609.6 million in 2012, which represents around 0.3% of Catalonia’s GDP. This amount will be extremely appreciated to help with meeting the deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government for the current year, which represents 1.5% of the Catalan GDP.