Qatari Diar to become major Vinci shareholder
Paris, September 1, 2009
Qatari Diar, leading real estate investor owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, will take a stake of 5 to 8 per cent in French public works group Vinci, becoming its top shareholder after its employees.
Vinci is creating a European leader in the energy services business by swapping a stake of up to 8 per cent in the company for the Cegelec unit of real estate investor Qatari Diar.
The deal will see Vinci form a division with annual revenue of over 7 billion euros ($10 billion), boosting group sales by 3 billion and adding to earnings from 2010, it said in a statement.
Cegelec provides services including electrical engineering, information and communication technologies, and maintenance. It has 27,000 staffers and operates in over 30 countries through more than 1,200 sites.
'With Cegelec, Vinci would become one of the top European players in the sector of services for business and local authorities in the field of energy,' it said.
The deal was announced after markets closed on Monday, when Vinci stock finished down 1.3 per cent, in line with France's benchmark CAC 40 and giving the company a market capitalization of 19.6 billion euros.
Qatari Diar is a unit of Qatar's sovereign fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which already owns shares in French companies including Suez Environnement and Lagardere.
Qatari Diar bought Cegelec in June 2008 from private equity fund LBO France and the group's management team. Vinci and French rival Eiffage were then already lining up to acquire Cegelec.
Earlier, Vinci reported first-half operating profit fell 7.1 per cent to 1.36 billion euros as stimulus packages failed to translate into infrastructure contracts.
The world's largest construction and concession group said net profit dropped 5.8 per cent to 690 million euros, above the average estimate of six analysts polled by Reuters of 637 million.
The group said it saw a rebound in French motorway concessions in the second quarter of the year, which was confirmed this summer.
It proposed an interim dividend of 0.52 euro.
Meanwhile, Eiffage reported a drop in first-half net profit to 50 million euros yesterday (August 31) and revised down its sales targets for 2009, as the economic downturn bit into its revenue.
The builder of the Sydney Opera House and the world's tallest suspension bridge near Millau in France cut its full-year sales goal to 13.4 billion euros from 13.7 billion.
'The impact of the financial crisis in the industrial sector (...) and the persistence of difficult conditions in Spain and Central Europe lead us, in spite of the quality of our backlog, to revise down our sales target for 2009,' it said.
Shares in Eiffage, 19.96 per cent owned by France's Caisse des Depots (CDC), closed up 1.2 per cent, outperforming a slightly weaker French SBF 20 index and giving the company a market value of 4.4 billion euros. – Reuters