Webuild announces the completion of its acquisition of 65% of Astaldi, the most important acquisition conducted under Progetto Italia (Project Italy). It leads to the creation of a new Group specialized in large infrastructure projects in sustainable mobility, hydropower, water and green buildings. The Group will be a leader in the Italian market and rank among the leading players of the sector worldwide with an order backlog of more than €40 billion.
In addition to giving the Webuild Group greater scale, the acquisition will bring together an array of innovative technical and engineering expertise, developed on nearly 100 work sites throughout the world. It will expand the Group’s geographic footprint to allow it to act quickly on the investment programs promoted by national governments for large, strategic infrastructure projects and to contribute in the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, and to the fight against climate change.
The Group to be created by the joining of Italy’s two biggest players in the infrastructure sector will have deeper roots in its home market, where it will play an important role in helping revive the sector in Italy and the world. In 2020, the Group contributed to relaunching strategic projects worth more than €3.6 billion, such as the Verona-Padua high-speed railway, the Ionian motorway and the railway hub in Genoa. With the acquisition, it will guarantee that work on strategic projects for clients and communities alike in Italy and abroad that involve Astaldi will continue, safeguarding jobs. These projects include Line 4 of the metro network in Milan, the Naples-Bari high-speed railway and the Hurontario light rail transit near Toronto.
With the acquisition of Astaldi, the new Group will have approximately 70,000 direct and indirect employees at a time when employment is a priority for countries, especially Italy. With a workforce representing more than 100 nationalities, the Group confirms diversity as one of the pillars of its business development.
The operation was completed by means of a capital increase by Astaldi equal to €225 million in cash and reserved for Webuild. The proceeds raised will finance Astaldi as an ongoing concern and will also pay off privileged and pre-deductible creditors. Webuild financed its participation with cash raised from a capital increase in November 2019 that was entirely subscribed and paid-in by Salini Costruttori, CDP Equity, Banco BPM, Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and other institutional investors.
“For Webuild Group, this is a moment that evokes a great sense of accomplishment. It opens the way for a bigger and more competitive Group that looks at the future of the sector in Italy with optimism. Webuild’s acquisition of 65% of Astaldi allows us to complete the biggest operation under Progetto Italia and focus on the best business opportunities to be found in the market. Our Group will have more than 70,000 people and an order backlog of nearly €40 billion. We will be bigger, stronger, better organized and more efficient to compete better together in international markets and relaunch the Italian market for infrastructure,” said Pietro Salini, Chief Executive of Webuild, following the completion of Astaldi’s capital increase.
“The operation was made possible thanks to the contribution made by Italy’s main public and private institutions – CDP Equity, Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and Banco BPM – and a large pool of qualified investors including businessman Leonardo Del Vecchio who believed in an initiative that, just a year ago, seemed an ambitious idea and yet, today, has become a reality. This trust has allowed us to protect and create jobs, giving a boost to the entire supply chain and making the most of Italian know-how. With only five projects in Italy, we have come to involve 5,000 small- and medium-sized businesses,” he said.
“We feel the obligation to modernize the country by unblocking and launching new projects that support sustainable growth over the long term in light of this incredible opportunity offered by European funds. It is an obligation that has acquired a sense of urgency, especially in this period. It can be an anti-cyclical act to relaunch the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and create jobs and give hope to young people. In this way, we can help Italy open a new season of sustainable reconstruction, from mobility to water infrastructure, from hydrogeological projects – in a country that lives from one emergency to another rather than plan ahead – to the maintenance of public works and the construction of green buildings, hospitals and schools,” he added.