Sacyr to appeal against AMF Eiffage ruling

19 March 2008

SACYR says it will appeal against a ruling by the french Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) stock market regulator that says it broke market rules in an attempt to take control of Eiffage. The AMF ruling renders Sacyr's April 19 offer to acquire Eiffage void, meaning the Spanish contractor would have to launch a new bid if it still wants to acquire the French company.

Sacyr was suspected of colluding with 89 other Spanish shareholders in Eiffage to vote Sacyr representatives onto Eiffage's board. However, Eiffage's April 18 AGM saw the cancellation of these shareholders voting rights on suspicion of acting in concert with Sacyr.

The run-up to the AGM has seen tensions escalate between the two groups. Eiffage, which is 23% owned by its employees, temporarily put a block on employee share dealings apparently in an attempt to prevent Sacyr gaining a greater holding.

Sacyr's previous tactic had been to keep its ownership of Eiffage just under the 33,3% mark. If it had exceeded this, it would have been obliged to launch a take-over offer, which it had previously said was not its intention.

Sacyr denies acting in concert with other shareholders at the AGM, and says that AMF ruling does not contain any proof that it did so. A company statement added, “Sacyr Vallehermoso wishes to convey that its purpose at Eiffage's shareholders meeting was to be part of the board of directors.

“Sacyr Vallehermoso was denied any representation despite being the company's main shareholder. Sacyr reiterates its belief that Eiffage will allow them to become a leading construction group in Europe.”

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