Impregilo to decide on use of cash in March - source

MILAN Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:00pm EST

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MILAN Dec 11 (Reuters) - Impregilo, Italy's biggest builder, will likely wait until March to say how it will distribute 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from asset sales to shareholders, a source close to the matter said.

Investors are awaiting a decision on whether Impregilo will pay a special dividend or boost returns through a mix of dividend and growth-oriented acquisitions.

"A decision is more likely to be taken in March whan annual results are approved," the source said on Tuesday.

Impregilo, controlled by family-owned peer Salini, this week approved a business plan which aims for a return on equity (ROE) above 14 percent in 2015, in line with construction sector peers.

To meet that target, the company is selling down its stake in Brazilian motorway operator EcoRodovias and its Fisia engineering units.

The 2013 special dividend could be in the area of 1.5-2.0 euros, the source said, adding no specific acquisition was on the table at the moment.

Impregilo aims to pocket 970 million euros ($1.3 billion) from the sale of 29.2 percent of EcoRodocias by the year-end.

It aims to raise a further 350 million euros and 150 million from disposals in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Pietro Salini, appointed chief executive of Impregilo after his family-owned group took control, is keen to focus it on the construction sector and expand its geographical presence.

Salini took control of Impregilo's board in July after months of clashes over strategy with the Gavio family which previously controlled the company.

Impregilo shares closed up 2.1 percent at 3.348 euros, giving it a market capitalisation of around 1.3 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7693 euro) (Reporting By Danilo Masoni; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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