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Koplowitz family halves stake in 80-year-old family business

Spain’s Koplowitz family has halved its stake in multibillion euro infrastructure company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, in a deal with the family of Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim.

Spain’s Koplowitz family has halved its stake in multibillion euro infrastructure company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, in a deal with the family of Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim.

The deal is part of a $1.3 billion capital raise, which aims to reduce the company’s debt. It is the first time in the company’s eight-decade history that the Koplowitz family won’t have a controlling majority stake in the firm.

According to a statement, chairwoman Esther Koplowitz will reduce her majority share from just over 50% to 22.4%, while Slim will invest $700 million in exchange for a 25.6% stake. Both parties have agreed not to sell for a minimum of four years. FCC had a turnover of €6.6 billion in 2013. 

Slim, one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, reportedly stepped in after talks between the Koplowitz family and George Soros, the Hungarian-born US investor, broke down over the weekend.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates already invested €108.5 million in FCC late last year, suggesting that there is an expectation the company is set to recover.

FCC, which employs 80,000 people in 56 countries, offered 43 shares for every 41 held at €7.50 each, which is less than half of their current market price.

Esther’s father Ernesto established FCC in the 1950s, having made his way to Spain following the Nazi prosecution of the Jews in Silesia, Poland.

Koplowitz is the second woman in Spain to chair an Ibex-listed company, having taken over from Baldomero Falcones Jaquotot in early 2013.

Last week, the company announced it had launched an initiative to increase the number of women in managerial positions and on the board.


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