UPDATE 2-Spain's Abertis to list telecoms business, return cash
* Analysts value telecoms business at about 3 bln euros
* Abertis plans to return 2 bln euros to shareholders
* Says will make up to 450 mln euros of cost savings (Adds market reaction, analyst quotes)
By Sonya Dowsett and Sarah Young
MADRID/LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Cash-rich Spanish toll roads operator Abertis plans to spin off and list its telecoms business and increase returns to shareholders, it said on Thursday, paving the way for its own international expansion.
Abertis declined to say what percentage of the telecoms business - comprising radio, TV and telephone broadcasting towers - would be listed, but the group's chief executive expects the exercise to maximise the unit's valuation.
Analysts have estimated its value at about 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion).
"We want to demonstrate to the market that this business is worth more than the market thought by going through the initial public offering (IPO)," Chief Executive Francisco Reynes told Reuters, adding that he expects the operation to take place in the first half of next year.
The listing is part of a three-year strategic plan Abertis announced via the Spanish stock exchange before presenting it to shareholders in London. The news lifted its shares by as much as 3 percent to a six-week high before they retreated to trade 0.7 percent lower at 15.65 euros, against the wider market's 2 percent fall. Continuación...