Salini takes control of Impregilo

By Helen Wright18 July 2012

Privately-held Italian contractor Salini has won boardroom control of Impregilo, Italy's largest publicly-listed construction company, after a showdown with a rival majority shareholder.

Impregilo shareholders backed Salini's proposal to oust the Impregilo board, which was dominated by representatives from rival majority investor Gavio, and parachute in its own board members. The new board will be led by chairman Claudio Costamagna, the Salini-backed former head of European investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

Both Salini and IGLI, the Gavio-owned holding company, have amassed stakes of just under 30% in Impregilo. As such, the decision by Impregilo's other shareholders to side with Salini's proposed board is a strong boost to the contractor's aim of merging itself with Impregilo.

The Gavio and Salini families courted proxy votes ahead of the shareholders' meeting. Salini won the outcome by a narrow vote, with the decisive ballot filed by investment fund Amber Capital, which sided with Salini.

Salini plans to merge itself with Impregilo, creating a combined entity with total revenues expected to rise to €7.5 billion by 2015. It also plans to pay a special dividend of up to €800 million.

Salini's wants to refocus Impregilo's activities onto pure construction business, targeting large and complex projects worldwide.

This strategy would see the sale of non-core assets, and Salini has already outlined plans to sell Impregilo's stake in Brazilian toll road operator Ecorodovias.

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