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Milan Firm Acquires Lane Industries

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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Italian infrastructure group Salini Impregilo announced an agreement to acquire U.S.-based construction firm Lane Industries Inc., one of the country’s top federal contractors for roads and highways.

The deal, announced Thursday (Nov. 12), is set to close in January 2016, subject to the approval of Lane's shareholders and the satisfaction of other customary conditions, including compliance with U.S. antitrust requirements.

The Milan-based company’s board of directors approved the agreement under which Salini Impregilo will acquire 100 percent of the share capital of Lane Industries Inc.

The transaction is valued at approximately $406 million.

Salini Impregilo
Salini Impregilo

“With Lane, we bring our group to a new, more ambitious level as we reach a truly global scale,” said CEO Pietro Salini.

Salini Impregilo will finance this transaction with available cash, existing credit lines and new financing available at closing.

After the deal is finalized, current Lane president and CEO Robert E. Alger will stay on in that capacity. Lane will maintain its name, and its headquarters will remain in Cheshire, CT.

A 125-Year History

Founded in 1890, Lane Industries Inc. is a family-owned business that specializes in heavy civil construction and the transportation infrastructure sector.

With annual revenues of more than $1 billion, Lane is the largest U.S. private producer of asphalt, as well as the top highway contractor in the U.S., according to the company’s website. 

The company has three divisions: asphalt production, road projects and other infrastructure projects in domestic and international markets.

Lane Industries Inc. is the parent company of The Lane Construction Corporation and Lane Worldwide Infrastructure Inc. The Lane Construction Corporation is a leading U.S. construction company specializing in the transportation, infrastructure and energy industries. Lane Worldwide Infrastructure Inc. manages Lane’s international operations, which develops transportation and infrastructure projects in the Middle East.

“This is a very exciting time for Lane employees,” Alger said in his company’s statement. “We will have an owner that truly understands our industry and wants to grow the business,” he added, noting the complementary skillset between the companies.

Through this new venture, “Lane will be able to grow and offer opportunities to our employees that we would not have been able to do under our current structure,” Alger said.

Lane’s 4,600 employees work with customers and partners on diverse projects including highways, bridges, racetracks, mass transit and airport systems, as well as the development of energy resources.

Enhancing Its Leadership Position

Salini Impregilo is a global leading player in the construction of major infrastructure, specializing in dams and water projects (including work on the Panama Canal), as well as in railways, metro systems, roads and motorways. 

Salini Impregilo

Salini Impregilo

Salini Impregilo specializes in the construction of major infrastructure, including dams and water projects, as well as railways, metro systems, roads and motorways.

The group has been active for more than 100 years, operates in more than 50 countries across five continents, and employs a team of more than 30,000 employees. 

At the end of 2014 its turnover was €4.2 billion (US$4.5 billion) with a backlog of €32 billion (US$34.3 billion), according to the company. 

Pietro Salini, the company’s CEO, commented: “With Lane, we bring our group to a new, more ambitious level as we reach a truly global scale while preserving a sound financial structure.”

He sees this move as giving his company a leadership position in the U.S., in Europe and in other high-growth regions. “We will be able to compete globally and seize the best opportunities on a risk-adjusted basis,” he added.

Among its previous U.S. projects, with its subsidiary Healy, Salini Impregilo has drilled an extended metro line in San Francisco and a hydraulic tunnel near Las Vegas.

Benefitting Both Sides

Both companies operate in heavy civil construction sectors requiring complex, large-scale infrastructure and anticipate mutual benefits from the transaction.

Salini Impregilo’s global presence will grow by complementing its current footprint in North America, the industry’s strongest heavy civil construction market, and its current worldwide revenue, which totaled €4.2 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2014, will increase accordingly with Lane’s revenues.

The company anticipates that the large, attractive U.S. construction market will represent about 21 percent of pro-forma revenues (it is currently about 4 percent of the company’s business, according to coverage in Fortune). It will also give the group improved access to a market where having a local presence and a local team of managers is a must to succeed.

istock.com/Prasit Rodphan
© iStock.com / Prasit Rodphan

Lane’s 4,600 employees work with customers and partners on diverse projects including highways, bridges, racetracks, mass transit and airport systems, as well as the development of energy resources.

For Lane, the merger will provide additional financial strength to its operations, allowing the company to take a stronger foothold in the markets it already operates in. It should also expand its growth into more profitable markets, with pro-forma combined sales of more €6 billion ($6.42 billion) expected in 2015.

Both companies also operate in the Middle East, which will provide Lane’s International group access to a multitude of opportunities in this fast growing part of the world.

As a leader in the U.S. market, Lane has the capacity to handle multiple large-scale projects and to quickly mobilize resources to staff any project. Lane also offers a unique combination of capabilities including public-private partnerships (P3)/innovative financing and joint ventures; large, complex design-build and bid-build projects; as well as the ability to produce and install asphalt, aggregates and concrete.

An Attractive Market

Salini specifically referred to the new highway bill, passed by the House Nov. 5, during his announcement, indicating it posed a “bright future” for infrastructure spending in the U.S., Fortune reported.

While the magazine points out that U.S. citizens may see that outlook as “overly optimistic,” Michelle Karavias, head of infrastructure research for BMI Research, told the publication that the nation’s “persistently dysfunctional” infrastructure funding might actually work to the Italian company’s advantage.

As the U.S. becomes more open to pursuing P3s, which Salini Impregilo is already familiar with from its work in the developing world, such arrangements could give the company a foot in with major projects, even if federal funding isn’t available.

   

Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Business matters; Infrastructure; Locks and dams; Mergers; Public-private partnerships (P3); Roads/Highways; Tunnel

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