Astaldi Bosphorus Bridge Stake Boosts Prospects for Share Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Prospects for a planned share sale by Italian builder Astaldi SpA may be enhanced after a potential buyer for a bridge over the Bosphorus valued the Italian builder’s 33 percent stake in the asset at as much as $462 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

A joint venture including London-based fund Centricus Asset Management, a Chinese investor and Turkish investment group Global Yatirim Holding AS set an equity valuation for the operator of a highway bridge over the Turkish strait at $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

The JV is completing due diligence and will make a binding offer to Astaldi before the end-of-June deadline, the people said. Representatives for Astaldi, Centricus, and Global declined to comment on the offer.

Astaldi said last month it needs at least one “adequate offer” for the stake before it can begin a 300 million-euro ($355 million) share sale later this year and avoid breaching one of the terms in the pre-underwriting agreement signed with JPMorgan Chase & Co. The company values its stake in the bridge, including equity and a shareholder loan, at about 350 million euros.

Full Sale

IC Yatirim Holding, an Ankara-based builder and energy producer, holds the remainder of the stake in the bridge. The deal could result in a sale of 100 percent of the bridge, one of the people said.

Rome-based Astaldi has been seeking to sell the bridge stake for months, after a writedown of exposure to the Venezuelan government put pressure on the builder’s balance sheet. A sale and the capital increase could help the company keep up with debt repayments and help refinance maturing loans and a 750 million-euro bond due December 2020.

Astaldi climbed 5.4 percent on Wednesday, and gained 2.6 percent at 10:54 a.m. on the Milan exchange Thursday. Its 750 million euros of bonds due December 2020 have risen 6 cents on the euro to 84 cents since Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Global Yatirim was little changed in Istanbul trading after closing up 4.3 percent on Wednesday.

The operator of the Bosphorus bridge is also talking to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China about refinancing a $2.3 billion loan due in 2022 with a new facility maturing in 2026, people familiar with the plan said March 1. Chinese lenders and other financial investors may participate in the loan, the people said.

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