LISBON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Portugal’s largest builder Mota-Engil plans to expand the free float of its African unit via a public offering of shares when market conditions allow and will also ponder the listing of shares in its Latin American unit.
Its chief executive Goncalo Moura Martins told Reuters on Monday, the day Mota-Engil Africa debuted on the Amsterdam bourse, that the full valuation potential of the African business will be discovered by the market when there is more liquidity.
Mota-Engil interrupted an IPO for the unit, that had been planned to take place in London, due to deteriorating market conditions amid a crisis around Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo. The bank was rescued by the state in August.
The shares now trading in Amsterdam represent one-fifth of Mota-Engil Africa capital and had been gratuitously distributed to shareholders in the mother company. The listing gives the unit a stock market value of over 1.1 billion euros ($1.24 billion).
The listing was also intended to give it better access to capital markets and a more diversified investor base, but the CEO said more free float was required.
“We will do the second part of the operation as soon as we have the conditions in place to carry it out,” Martins said when asked about a full public offering of shares in the African subsidiary, which operates in 10 countries including Angola, Malawi and Mozambique.
“While there is no adequate liquidity level, the share price will hardly reflect the fair market value of the company. This is our plan and it will happen,” he said, adding that “in due course, we can evaluate a similar operation” for the Latin American unit, which is “in a strong expansion phase”.
He said the Amsterdam Euronext bourse ”“will certainly give the visibility and liquidity levels that we want for the shares.”
Africa makes up about half of the group’s turnover and as much as 72 percent of EBITDA, but Latin America has had the highest business growth rate in the last few quarters. (1 US dollar = 0.8051 euro) (Writing by Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge)