Spain's ACS may sell off properties to raise cash: report

MADRID Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:16am EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish infrastructure firm ACS (ACS.MC) may sell some of its property portfolio to raise cash, after a series of costly refinancing deals to preserve its stakes in Iberdrola (IBE.MC) and Hochtief (HOTG.DE), online newspaper El Confidencial said on Monday.

ACS, one of the world's largest building and services groups, was in touch with several property funds in the first half of the year to sound out their interest in some of its commercial buildings, such as its own headquarters, as well as that of Dragados, a construction subsidiary, and that of Cobra, one of its technology subsidiaries, El Confidencial said.

The newspaper, citing sources close to the company, said ACS was aiming to enter into sale and leaseback agreements to access liquidity as quickly as possible.

ACS was not immediately available for comment.

The company owes 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) on a 14.85 percent stake in utility Iberdrola worth about 2.9 billion euros and in July reached a deal with creditor Natixis to cancel a margin call on an equity swap worth 1.4 billion euros in shares in the energy company.

Spain has fallen into a recession that has left one in four jobless, after the collapse of its property boom five years ago exposed the economy even further to the debt crisis that has engulfed Europe and which could force Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to seek a sovereign bailout.

ACS is one of the worst-performing stocks in Madrid's blue-chip IBEX .IBEX this year, having lost nearly 43 percent of its value, compared with a near-18 percent year-to-date drop in the broader index.

In another bid to improve its finances, the company pledged shares worth almost 900 million euros in German builder Hochtief, which it controls after launching a non-cash takeover bid last year, as collateral for a loan earlier this month. ($1 = 0.8121 euros)

(Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by David Holmes)

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