Following the deal announced yesterday to integrate OHL's Brazil and Chile assets into Abertis, the company estimates a €1bn-plus increase in turnover, said its CEO Francisco Reynés at today's Matins ESADE session, sponsored by Ernst & Young and La Vanguardia.
According to Reynés, this transaction, which is not expected to close until mid-year, "is a step forward" in the multinational's global expansion and will make it "the world leader" in the operation of motorways, with over 7,000 kilometres of concessions. With the integration of these concessionaires, Spain will now create 33% of the group's revenue, France 37%, and Brazil 23%, he explained.
Even so, the CEO pointed out that “we are still not global enough to target Asia¿, so, as it stands today, the Americas are the firm's main goal, as there is more stability and growth potential, a solid legal framework and the possibility of funding. Reynés stated that the group's 2012-2014 strategy is to grow in countries such as Canada, the US, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Mexico and Chile, as well as to consolidate existing projects.
What's more, the Abertis CEO pinpointed the US as his next "personal objective", saying that "although it's a complicated market because of the concessions, it offers a great opportunity, which we are prepared to undertake". He added that "if it's not in the medium term, it will be in the long term, but the US requires infrastructures, as its level of quality outstrips ours here".
Concessions in Europe
Another objective of Abertis is to expand concessions in Europe. On this note, Reynés warned that "extending these contracts does not add much to the company's business, but it does avoid direct government charges", which, in his opinion, would result in more taxes.
In this sense, he believes that "if concessions are not extended, road maintenance or agreements with service stations should be included in government budgets".
Investment in the last six years
Since 2005, the company has invested more than 10 billion euros in many different countries, which has been the key to success for its expansion. As Reynés explained, the goal of Abertis "is to grow, taking into account that the world has changed: credit is more expensive and more demanding, and projects cannot be taken on with the same debt as in 2008", he stressed.
For this reason, international expansion is a competitive advantage, “so the more countries we operate in, the more possibilities we will have to compensate the economy¿. However, he did point out that "we're not going to undertake projects that don't have clear economic viability".
Asked about Abertis' interest in motorways in Turkey, the CEO said he rules it out for the time being, adding that "it's an area where funding is difficult, although the company does find the country attractive for possible investment in the future".
Growth in infrastructures
Reynés also talked about the importance of infrastructures for the global economy. He believes that "they are strategic assets which should be invested in with a very clear, long-term vision, they boost competitive advantage and they require constant investment, be it public or private".
Continuing, he referred to the need in the future for infrastructures in the world, saying that "investment is expected to grow in the coming years". By the year 2030 it will be 1.6 billion dollars per year, a good deal of which will be in Asia, with 635 million, followed by the Americas (560m), Europe (365m) and the Middle East (78m), the latter being "in a more heterogeneous way", he added.
Francisco Reynés, CEO of Abertis, will feature this new session of Matins ESADE entitled "Infrastructures: internationalisation and growth".
The CEO of Abertis will analyse the situation facing the infrastructure sector drawing on his own company’s experience, which is characterised by its commitment to internationalisation, sustainable growth and a focus on motorways, telecommunications and airports.
Welcome and closing: Miguel Trías (MBA 89), President of ESADE Alumni
Introduction and presentation: Carlos Losada (Lic&MBA 79/PhD 03), Professor in the Department of Business Policy at ESADE
Lecture: Francisco Reynés, CEO of Abertis
Discussion: Jordi Goula, Economics Editor at La Vanguardia
Francisco Reynes has been the CEO of Abertis since June 2010. Born in Palma de Mallorca, he is now 49 years old and a father of three children. Prior to joining Abertis, Mr. Reynes was the general manager of Criteria CaixaCorp, the holding company of "la Caixa". In that capacity, he oversaw the company’s IPO process, as well as various corporate transactions that enabled the company to rebalance its investment portfolio towards the financial business. In addition to Abertis Infrastructures, in recent years he has served on the boards of directors of Eutelsat, Hispasat, Sanef, Gas Natural Fenosa, Aigües de Barcelona, Segur CaixaHolding, Boursorama, Adeslas and PortAventura. He trained as an industrial engineer specialised in mechanical engineering at the UPC. He also holds an MBA from IESE and has completed business administration courses in the United States and Germany.