Abertis demands 3,325 million from the State for investments and reductions in tolls on the AP-7

The bulk of the amount required for the highway is still pending before the Supreme Court.

A section of the AP-7.

Abertis figure in 3,325 million euros the amount claimed from the State for the investments and discounts on the toll that the company made in a section of the AP-7 motorway in Catalonia under an agreement reached in 2006 with the then government.

The claim also refers to the next payment method to conclude its concession contract, raise the toll and return to the State. These are the Tarragona-Barcelona and Barcelona-La Junquera sections of the AP-7, which expire on August 31, 2021.

Of the total amount that Abertis claims in this way, 948 million correspond to the improvement and expansion works that the company, through its subsidiary lit, made in his day on the highway.

The remaining 2,376 million euros are the accumulated compensation that the company calculates that it should receive for the decrease in the volume of traffic.

Invoice in 2021

The Ministry of Transport must face the first part of this bill, that is, the 948 million corresponding to the works, when the concession contract, in August 2021.

From your side, the payment of the amount related to the traffic will depend on what the supreme court, a judicial instance that has led to the disagreement between Abertis and the State regarding this amount since 2011.

In early 2017, the highway firm now controlled by Atlantia and ACS obtained a favorable sentence to receive this payment from the High Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM), although the then Ministry of Public Works appealed to the Supreme Court.

The High Court ruled in July of last year, but only to “defer” its decision on the matter until the end of the concession contract.

Despite this, Abertis assures that, after this ruling by the Supreme Court, “it maintains, with even more conviction, the strength of your legal arguments, based on the agreement that the granting Administration and the concessionaire signed for reasons of general interest”, according to the company in its 2019 annual report.

The amount of the claim is growing annually, so that the aforementioned total amount of 3,325 million that was added at the end of last year represents an increase of 12.6%, when at the end of 2018 it was 2,951 million.

Origin of the dispute

This dispute between Abetis and the State has its origin in the agreement that in 2006 the group signed with the Ministry of Public Works, then headed by Magdalena Álvarez and approved by Royal Decree in the Council of Ministers.

By virtue of this agreement, the company undertook to carry out expansion and improvement works on the aforementioned sections of the AP-7 and to apply discounts on its tolls. For its part, the State agreed to assume the risk of highway traffic in the event that the number of users did not reach certain levels.

However, in 2011, after the change of color of the Government, the then Ministry of Public Works began to raise doubts about the interpretation of this agreement in terms of compensation for traffic. Then an unsuccessful exchange of considerations and reports began between Abertis and the Government, and the dispute finally led to the courts.