Italian contracting giant Salini Impregilo has offered to invest €225m in its troubled rival Astaldi in return for 65% ownership of the company.
If accepted by Astaldi and approved by the courts, the move would create a contractor with a combined order book of around €33bn and more than 45,000 employees.
It would make Astaldi "an essentially debt-free company with the potential support of long-term co-investors", Salini said in a statement Thursday, 14 February.
It said the transaction could be completed in the first half of 2020.
Astaldi’s share price rose on the news.
The plan would be to sell Astaldi’s non-core assets, including its concessions arm that owns stakes in the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in Turkey (pictured), plus a highway and a health campus there.
Salini said the move would preserve Astaldi’s projects, supply chain and employees, as well as "consolidate the Italian EPC infrastructure market, in order to guarantee its stability and development".
Astaldi filed for protection from creditors in September 2018 after failing to sell its stake in the bridge in Istanbul.
The company, which employs more than 10,500 people, wanted to sell the bridge to cut its debt, which stood at €1.26bn at the end of 2017, said Reuters.
Salini Impregilo was reported to be preparing a take-over offer in October last year.
Image: Want to buy a bridge? Istanbul’s Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosphorus (VikiPicture/CC BY-SA 4.0)