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Salini family wins battle against Gavios to control construction business

Italy’s Salini family has won the battle against the Gavio family to control the country’s biggest construction company, Impregilo, after shareholders approved a plan to oust board members backed by the Gavios.

Italy’s Salini family has won the battle against the Gavio family to control the country’s biggest construction company, Impregilo, after shareholders approved a plan to oust board members backed by the Gavios.

In a statement on 17 July, Impregilo – in which the Gavio and Salini families hold near identical stakes of slightly less than 30% each – said the current directors of the board will be removed and replaced by people recommended by the Salinis.

According to the Salini family, the 15-strong board had previously been largely influenced by the Gavios, causing a drop in the stock’s performance in the past five years.

But the price of shares has risen by more than 70% since the Salinis first announced it had built a stake in Impregilo in October last year.

Pietro Salini, chief executive of his family’s construction business Salini Costruttori, is also looking to merge his group with Impregilo. If the merger happens, it will likely see Milan-based Impregilo turned into a pure construction firm, divesting from its current highway concession and toll-road operations.

But despite the Salini family’s victory over board control, the fight may likely continue if a statement by Igli – the Gavios holding company – is anything to go by.

“We have the duty to protect the integrity and the industrial future of Impregilo. We will oppose by any means the attempt … to sell essential assets of the company and the plan to exit vital concession markets,” said the release.

The new board of Impregilo is chaired by non-family Claudio Costamagna. While there is no Gavio family representation on the board, two members of the Salini family – Pietro Salini and Simon Pietro Salini – are now directors.

Besides the families’ stakes, around 5% of Impregilo is owned by Amber Capital and the rest is floated on the Italian stock exchange.

Impregilo had 2011 revenues of €2.11 billion, up from €2.06 billion the year before.

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