Abertis Buys Out Telefonica To Increase Hispasat Stake

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PARIS — Abertis Telecom of Spain is purchasing the 13.23 percent equity stake in Spanish satellite fleet operator Hispasat held by telecommunications operator Telefonica in a deal valued at 124 million euros ($161 million), Telefonica announced Feb. 21.

The transaction, which gives an implied value of Hispasat at 937.3 million euros, comes a month after Abertis sold half of its equity stake in satellite fleet operator Eutelsat of Paris. That transaction was valued at 981 million euros, giving Abertis a gross profit of 396 million euros.

Abertis retains a nearly 16 percent ownership share in Eutelsat.

With the completion of the Telefonica transaction, which is pending approval of the Spanish government, Abertis’ stake in Hispasat will grow to 46.6 percent, well ahead of Eutelsat’s 27.7 percent share and a combined 25.7 percent share held by several Spanish government institutions including INTA and CDTI, which carry out Spain’s space policy.

Abertis in the past has said it harbored ambitions of owning Hispasat outright. Previous Spanish governments have refused to give the company a controlling stake.

Hispasat reported revenue of 181.3 million euros in 2010. EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was 80 percent of revenue. Hispasat’s revenue increased by 20 percent over 2010 and has more than doubled since 2004. The company has five satellites in orbit and two on order and scheduled for launch in 2013.