Globalvia has acquired 24% of the shares of the railway operator Iryo that were in the hands of Operador Ferroviario de Levante (OFL), a company owned by the partners of the Valencian regional airline Air Nostrum. Following this operation, Air Nostrum reduced its stake to 31% and Trenitalia, the Italian public high-speed operator that belongs to Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the Italian national railway company, is the company’s main shareholder, with 45%. .
The mobility infrastructure company, which has had all the administrative authorizations it required to formalize its entry into Iryo’s capital, has not revealed the economic figure disbursed, although analysts valued the entire company at 200 million euros, so the operation would be encrypted around 50 million.
After the entry of Glovalvia, the largest shareholder of Iryo will be the Italian State, the majority of the capital being Spanish with 55%. In this way, all the operators that compete in the high-speed rail market will be controlled by public companies: AVE and Avlo de Renfe; Ouigo from the French SNCF and Iryo from Trenitalia.
Air Nostrum began last year the search for a strategic partner to reinforce the financial strength of Iryo, which in November 2019 was awarded the second of the three packages offered by Adif in the Spanish high-speed rail liberalization process. Globalvia has obtained the support of its three shareholders to land the capital of Iryo and has been chosen thanks to its financial position, its strategic interest in high-speed rail and its long-term permanence in the project, according to the statement made public this Friday by the company.
Iryo will launch its high-speed service on the Madrid-Barcelona line on November 25. In mid-December, the Madrid-Valencia connection will be launched, while the deployment of Madrid with Andalusia will not arrive until March 2023, followed by the Madrid-Alicante route, which will not be carried out until June of next year.
Globalvía, founded in 2007 to unite all the concession assets of FCC and Caja Madrid under a single group, became controlled in 2016 by three pension funds from Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The company has already tried to take over some of the routes in the competition process that Adif opened in 2019, by associating with Moventia but without achieving any path. The Andalusian company Eco Rail and the consortium made up of Talgo, Globalia and the Trilantic fund also competed in this procedure, initiated after the liberalization of rail passenger transport in Spain.
The president of Iryo, Carlos Bertomeu, has pointed out in a note that Globalvia’s entry into the shareholding provides financial muscle to the project, has a vocation for long-term permanence as a shareholder of the first private operator of the Spanish high-speed network and an accredited experience and solvency. With this agreement, he added, the original scheme with which the partners of Air Nostrum designed the company is completed.
The CEO of Globalvia, Javier Pérez-Fortea, pointed out that this operation reinforces its commitment to new forms of mobility in the countries where it operates and added that, after the pandemic, high-speed rail will be an essential element for a sustainable mobility, in which they hope to advance together with their partners with a long-term vocation.
For his part, the CEO of Trenitalia, Luigi Corradi, has assured that this operation “reaffirms the importance of the project to bring more and more people closer to the train as a means of locomotion, in compliance with the objectives of the European Union in terms of sustainability”.
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