3 May 2018 – Expansión
Never before has an ordinary general meeting of Saba’s shareholders raised so much expectation. The parking lot company, in which Criteria Caixa holds a 50.1% stake, has delayed the shareholders’ meeting that it had planned to hold in Barcelona on 9 May, postponing it until 12 June. The reason is that the shareholders still need to agree on the changes in their stakes in the parking lot company.
Its been a while since Torreal, which owns 20% of Saba; KKR, which holds 18.5%; and ProA, which owns 10.5%, expressed their intention of divesting their stakes in the company, a move that is logical for funds, which typically rotate their portfolios every few years.
But Criteria Caixa, which is in a position to buy, in light of the proceeds amounting to €3 billion that it is going to receive over the next few months when it sells its stake in Abertis, has initiated conversations with the other three major shareholders to take control of the company. The remaining 1.2% of the shares, which are owned by small investors, proceed from the time when Saba belonged to Abertis.
In parallel, Criteria is also planning to hold a Board Meeting at the end of this month to define the final position of its investment portfolio. Sources consulted assure that a decision will be taken at that meeting as to whether to take over complete control of the company led by Josep Martínez Vila or to sell its stake. In theory, all indicators are that Criteria Caixa will become Saba’s sole shareholder.
During the extra month that they will now have, the shareholders are going to close all of the details to approve the changes in their shareholding. Meanwhile, Saba has justified the change of date in “the greater social interest and for reasons beyond its control”. Nevertheless, some parties were in favour of holding the meeting and organising another extraordinary meeting later on, once the shareholder restructuring has been agreed.
The aspects to be discussed include the distribution of a dividend amounting to €19.95 million, charged against the issue premium; the approval of the results; and, as the fifth item on the agenda, the re-election and appointment of the directors.
Criteria is going through a time of enormous liquidity due to the funds that it is going to receive when it sells the 18% stake that it holds in Abertis and because it has not participated in any large operations since it divested its 10% stake in Gas Natural Fenosa, for which it obtained €1.8 billion.
Saba, chaired by Salvador Alemany, is worth around €1.4 billion, on the basis of a multiple of between 12 and 14 times its EBITDA, which amounts to around €100 million. The company manages 195,000 parking spaces and, in 2016 – the most recent year for which data is available – it recorded revenues of €205 million (+17%) and obtained EBITDA of €94 million (+10%) (…).
Original story: Expansión (by Artur Zanón)
Translation: Carmel Drake