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UPDATE 1-Colas shares rise on $1.1 bln sale of Cofiroute stake
December 23, 2013 / 10:41 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Colas shares rise on $1.1 bln sale of Cofiroute stake

* Colas sells 16.67 pct Cofiroute stake to Vinci

* Sale should bring Colas 380 mln euros in net proceeds -CEO

* Deal is a win-win for Bouygues and Vinci, CM-CIC writes (Adds CEO quote, analyst comments, shares)

PARIS, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Shares in France’s Colas rose 3 percent on Monday after the road building company struck a long-awaited deal to sell its stake in motorway operator Cofiroute to partner Vinci for up to 800 million euros ($1.1 billion).

The sale of the 16.67 percent stake, unveiled late on Friday, is due to close by Jan 31. It will make Vinci the sole shareholder in Cofiroute, which operates 1,100 km (700 miles) of motorways in western France and the A86 road near Paris.

Colas CEO Herve Le Bouc told Reuters the offer was attractive given the business had reached maturity. While Cofiroute will no longer bring Colas a dividend worth some 50 million euros a year, the sale should generate up to 380 million euros in net proceeds, he said.

“It seemed to us that the offered price represented a good opportunity to better reinvest the money elsewhere,” Le Bouc said, without giving more details.

The sale price of the Cofiroute stake represents 12.4 times 2012 earnings before interest and tax, CM-CIC Securities analysts wrote in a note, adding that a large part of the proceeds should be retrieved by Colas’ parent, telecoms-to-construction conglomerate Bouygues.

Bouygues and Colas had been looking to exit Cofiroute for several years but had been tough with pricing, they wrote, adding: “The recent hardening of conditions in telecoms probably prompted Bouygues to review its position and agree with Vinci on a win-win deal.”

“The long-awaited transaction was carried out in good conditions for Vinci, which will have exclusive control over Cofiroute,” they noted.

Shares in Colas were up 3.36 percent at 1023 GMT, while Vinci shares were 0.62 percent higher, erasing earlier losses. Shares in Bouygues were roughly flat.

$1 = 0.7315 euros Reporting by Natalie Huet and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Mark Potter

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