Ashurst wins Abertis mandate as A&O leads for Aimco

Ashurst’s London office has won its first ever mandate for Spanish conglomerate Abertis Infraestructuras, as the company bought an interest in Chile’s Autopista Central toll road from Allen & Overy (A&O) client Alberta Investment Management Corporation (Aimco).

Spanish-listed Abertis Infraestructuras approached Ashurst partners Tom Mercer and Nick Rainsford in the first deal the firm has done out of London, while the company also received advice from Madrid corporate partner María José Menéndez.

Luxembourg law advice was additionally provided by partner Isabelle Lentz and Swedish law matters handled by partner Pontus Bergsten in Stockholm.

A&O meanwhile advised Canadian investment fund manager Aimco on the transaction, with a team led by corporate private equity partner Stephen Lloyd. The magic circle firm’s relationship with Aimco has been strengthened with the arrival of Ashurst partner Lloyd at the end of 2013, who had won mandates for the investment house at his former firm.

Under the agreement Aimco has sold its 50 per cent stake in the Autopista Central de Chile infrastructure asset to Abertis for €948m.

Autopista Central went into operation in 2007, with Aimco acquiring its 50 per cent stake three years later. Abertis is now the sole owner of the toll road, with the transaction doubling the volume of its business in Chile.

Background to the deal 

Although Abertis is not a new client for Ashurst, it is the first time the company has used the firm on a major M&A transaction from London. Abertis’ legal director for Europe and North America Mary Gatehouse is herself an Ashurst alumna, having been at the firm until 2007.

In the past, Abertis has instead turned to longstanding adviser Clifford Chance who acted on its sale of Belfast International and Stockholm Stavsta airports to ADC and HAS Airports Worldwide in 2013. Earlier that year, the company also sold Cardiff airport to the Welsh government for €61m (£52.6m), again seeking representation from Clifford Chance.

Over the past few years, Aimco has acquired a number of companies alongside OMERS Private Equity. Both have turned to Ashurst and A&O for legal advice, with Ashurst partner Lloyd winning the Aimco mandate on its £935m acquisition of Vue Entertainment in 2013, while A&O led for OMERS. Just last year, Aimco and OMERS also acquired Environmental Resources Management for $1.7bn (£1.2bn), with both firms being awarded roles on the deal.