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·  16 Septembre 2003 , Barcelona

abertis assures financial and organisational capacity to undertake new investment

The abertis Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting today approved a new share issue payable from reserves of 1 new share for every 20 old shares. As a result, abertis Infraestructuras shareholders equity now stands at 1,576 million euros.

In line with Acesa's traditional policy up to the merger, with 5% increases in the total dividend, abertis chairman Isidre Fainé announced a dividend on account of 0.229 euros per share for the 2003 financial year. This dividend on account, which is also payable to the new shares, will be paid out in late-October.

At the Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting, abertis chairman Isidre Fainé and CEO Salvador Alemany presented a detailed report on the group's business activities in 2003, announcing that abertis will continue to invest in infrastructure based on analysis of opportunities with a "suitable profit/risk ratio".

New investments

The group's arguments backing up its interest and capacity to undertake new investments, if these are adapted to its profitability criteria, include: abertis' financial structure, the healthiest amongst companies in the sector; the new corporate organisation, which emphasises territorial representation; and the European trend towards opening up infrastructure financing and operation to the private sector.

Apart from the moves to acquire Retevisión Audiovisual, which will be completed once approval has been obtained from the competition defence authorities, says abertis CEO Salvador Alemany, the group is studying the investment opportunities offered by five new toll motorways put up for tender by the Spanish government, and continues to monitor opportunities in Europe.

Regarding the network Acesa operates at present, abertis CEO and Acesa chairman Salvador Alemany repeated the group's willingness to negotiate an agreement with the administration to invest in the third lane on the A-7 along the Mediterranean–Salou and Maçanet-La Jonquera routes.

Consolidating growth

The group's financial capacity to undertake new investment is complemented by the new organisational structure, recently unveiled, whose two-fold objective is to prepare for more growth and to adjust to the dimensions of the new abertis after the business operations of the last year. These operations include the acquisition of Iberpistas, the merger with Áurea, the new logistic projects in Álava and Seville and the consolidation of investments in car parks in Italy and Portugal.

On this point, abertis chairman Isidre Fainé stressed that the group's philosophy is to "grow in a sustainable way, to become more competitive nationally and internationally and to combine the necessary global approach in optimum fashion with the no less necessary local vision of business management…”

Following the merger between Acesa and Aurea and after the new abertis began to be quoted on financial markets on June 2, the group's rating has increased in all the indexes in which it is present, reaching 11th place in the selective Ibex 35 and rising steadily on such international indexes as Eurotop300 and Standard&Poors 350.

On September 22, abertis became a member of Dow Jones Sustainability, an index including 178 companies in 13 European countries. Dow Jones Sustainability is used as a guide by asset managers whose investment selection criteria include corporate compliance with strict requirements of sustainability.
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