Spanish infrastructure developer, Abertis Infraestructuras S.A., has downsized its plans to invest in the upgrade of its French motorway assets.
According to sources, the new plans involve a total investment of €580 million (US$726 million) to upgrade its Sanef and Sapn French networks, reducing the original planned investment of €700 million (US$876 million).
In an interview carried out by Bloomberg, Abertis' Chief Financial Officer Jose Aljaro stated that Abertis' decision is related to the fact that the French government has cut the length of a concession extension for the Sapn network. He added:
In the case of Sapn, the initial extension was six years, and the government reduced the extension, and for that reason it was necessary to reduce the extra capex.
Mr. Aljaro said that Sanef's concession will be extended for two years.
France's energy minister, Segolene Royal, has asked highway owners Vinci, Eiffage SA and Abertis to contribute more to infrastructure investment after the government dropped a trucking tax system and replaced it by a diesel surcharge. The minister has also announced that the European Commission has approved a €3.2 billion stimulus package to be invested by French highway operators.
Mr. Royal had proposed that the government has to increase oversight of highway operators because their profitability levels are unjustified. Nevertheless, prime minister Manuel Valls rejected Royal's proposal.