London - Italian infrastructure operator Atlantia, whose largest shareholder (with 30.2%) is the Benetton family, has bought a stake in the firm that operates the Channel Tunnel, obtaining a 15.5% stake in Groupe Eurotunnel (Getlink), worth 1.056 billion euro. Getlink operates the undersea tunnel linking France to the United Kingdom, through which 20 million people transit yearly.
The transaction “does not constitute an alternative to Abertis”, assured Atlantia CEO Giovanni Castellucci, confirming his firm’s commitment over the Spanish motorways operator deal, whose outcome is still awaiting deliberation by Spanish regulators over a counter-offer by Atlantia rival ACS-Hochtief. The investment in Getlink was achieved through the 100% acquisition of Aero I Global & International, an investment vehicle controlled entirely by funds managed by Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners.
Getlink shares in Paris yesterday closed up 11.64%. In 2017 Atlantia achieved a gross operating margin of 3.6 billion (+8%), with revenues of 5.9 billion. Atlantia shares closed down 1.41% on the Italian exchange, in a trading day that saw decline across the board (-2.39%).