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Monday, April 24, 2006

International Toll Road Giant Anticipates Further Growth

Wall Street Journal writer Alessandra Galloni writes in the April 24, 2006 edition of the newspaper that Spanish toll road and airport giant Abertis Infraestructuras SA is merging with the Italian company Autostrade SpA.

The new company will have a market value of over 28 billion dollars. The largest shareholder will be a holding company controlled by Italy's Benetton family, the maker of casual wear and colored sweaters. Benetton as an apparel maker has been famous for its shocking ads like the one shown here.

Ms. Galloni writes:
The deal will give the combined company more firepower when pitching for concessions to run roads, airports, parking areas, and telecom infrastructure around the world. The industry is considered stable because income from toll roads tends to grow slowly but steadily, with substantial sales and profit growth from obtaining new concessions or installing systems like automated toll collecting. Big-ticket projects like airports rely on government spending and don't shift as quickly along with the rest of the economy. Abertis and Autostrade said the new company plans to spend about 15 billion euros to expand the business across Europe, North America and South America.

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