Bailed-out Citigroup invests $10 billion in toll roads

Land Line | December 1, 2008
By David Tanner

An infrastructure subsidiary of recently bailed-out Citigroup has purchased a Spanish toll road company and its assets for $10 billion. The Citigroup subsidiary known as Citi Infrastructure Partners then sold $800 million of its newly acquired assets to separate companies from Spain and Italy.

Officials with Citi Infrastructure Partners announced Monday, Dec. 1, that the fund would be purchasing 100 percent of Itinere Infraestructuras SA from Sacyr Vallehermoso SA, the fifth-largest road builder in Spain. The transaction is reportedly worth 7.9 million Euro, or $10 billion U.S., the companies announced.

Upon completion of the transaction, Citi will turn around and sell $800 million worth of former Itinere assets to Spainís largest highway operator, Abertis Infraestrucutras SA, and an Italian company called Atlantia SpA, formerly known as Autostrade.

Abertis and Atlantia already own percentage stakes in the affected toll roads, company officials said. The purchase from Citi will give Abertis 100 percent control of a toll road operation in Chile and will give Atlantia control over toll roads in Portugal and Brazil.

Back in May, the Citigroup infrastructure subsidiary teamed up with Abertis to submit a $12.8-billion bid to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Even though the lease proposal stalled during the summer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, talk continues that a lease deal could resurface in 2009.

On Nov. 24, the U.S. government pledged to back $306 billion in high-risk Citigroup assets including mortgages. The government also pledged to inject $20 billion in new capital into the bank. All in all, the move was widely reported to be the largest bank bailout in history.