ROADS/BRIDGES: Concession deal for sale on Chicago Skyway

The Spanish-Australian group that put up $1.83 billion a decade ago now looking to bow out

Bridges News June 30, 2015
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The Skyway concession company’s executives have informed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration their intent to sell all interest in running and collecting tolls from the 7.8-mile-long road on Chicago’s South Side, city officials announced this week. This news comes barely 10 years after the investment group put up $1.83 billion for the right to run the Chicago Skyway for 99 years.
 
A consortium formed by Cintra Infraestructuras, a Spanish company, and Australia’s Macquarie Group presented the highest bid for the deal in 2005 and took over the toll road. The Cintra-Macquarie team’s winning proposal surpassed the second-highest bid by more than $1 billion, sparking speculation at the time that the investors had massively overpaid the city.
 
Emanuel’s chief financial officer, Carole Brown, said the city “has an ongoing relationship with the concessionaire and will work closely with them through this process.”
 
Cintra, which is a subsidiary of Madrid-based infrastructure group Ferrovial, owns a 55% stake in the Skyway company. The other 45% interest in the concession belongs to two arms of Macquarie, according to city records.
 
Cintra and Macquarie’s move to sell the Skyway rights comes just months after the Indiana Toll Road — which is operated by the same investment team and for which it paid  $3.8 billion in 2006 for a 75-year lease — filed for bankruptcy.

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