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Spain's ACS takes Iberdrola stake close to 16 pct

Source: Reuters - Wed 8th Dec 2010

Spain's ACS has raised its stake in utility Iberdrola to nearly 16 percent, while it continues with its bid to win control of its other core shareholding, German peer Hochtief.

ACS's extra 1 percent purchase, worth about 294 million euros at current prices, shows the builder is prepared to fight on two fronts as it aims to increase control in its key holdings.

ACS's Chief Executive Angel Altozano told Reuters in September the company viewed its target to reach 20 percent of Iberdrola as more of a financial operation, while noting its bid to take 50 percent of Hochtief was part of its core business.

Hochtief tried to foil ACS's hostile all-share bid on Monday by issuing 7 million discounted new shares to the Gulf state of Qatar.

The 400 million euro capital increase will dilute ACS's existing stake to 27.25 percent from just under 30 percent and looks set to increase the cost of ACS's plan for control of Hochtief.

ACS announced yesterday it was considering taking legal action against Hochtief's move.

ACS is also involved in a legal battle with Iberdrola to win board seats, which have been denied to it on the grounds it competes with the utility in core areas of business, such as electrical engineering and renewables.

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