Rafael del Pino
, Chairman of Ferrovial, advocated measures to drive recovery and job creation. "Only with economic growth and strong companies can Spain create jobs again," he said, during the Shareholders' Meeting in Madrid. The Meeting approved all the items on the agenda, including the financial statements and a dividend payment charged to reserves amounting to 0.25 per share, supplementing the 1 euro per share paid in December.
"We need more public investment, better financing conditions and a lower tax burden," said Mr del Pino. "We view 2013 from a position of prudence and moderate optimism, but the prospects are undeniably better than they were twelve months ago."
Overall, Mr del Pino described 2012 as "very positive for Ferrovial and its shareholders". The year was shaped by "strong cash flow, good operating results, major new contracts, and successful asset rotation," he added. "The good performance of our businesses, especially outside Spain, was evidenced by a 3.2% increase in revenues and 13.4% growth in EBITDA."
Ferrovial's share appreciated by 20% in 2012, and the total return including dividends was 36%. "Our sound financial position enabled us to provide excellent shareholder remuneration," concluded the Chairman.
Mr del Pino underlined the company's financial strength. As a result of skilful management during the year, operating cash flow rose by 78% year-on-year, exceeding market expectations, supported by positive business performance, divestments, the increase in dividends from Toll Roads, and the first dividend from Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH). This enabled the parent company to end 2012 with a net cash position of 1.489 billion euro, compared with 907 million euro in 2011, as well as over 3.750 billion euro in liquidity, "which gives us the flexibility to undertake investment projects."
"In short, in 2012 Ferrovial gained in strength and capacity to continue to grow, invest, and seize opportunities that arise," he added.
As regards the company's 60th anniversary, on 18 December last, Rafael del Pino underlined the four principles that have guided Ferrovial since inception and which remain in force today: "a commitment to talent, innovation, efficiency, and international diversification".
The company's ongoing focus on innovation, social responsibility, and the environment were visible in 2012, when Ferrovial was once again included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the FTSE4Good, and Fortune magazine's list of Most Admired Companies.
Growth in the backlog, liquidity and international presence
At the Shareholders' Meeting, Ferrovial CEO Íñigo Meirás noted the good performance of the main assets, such as 407 ETR in Canada and Heathrow Airport, with record traffic numbers, new bond issues, and dividend payments. He also emphasized the improved financial position, the strong Services and Construction backlog, and the asset monetization process.
Asset rotation led to 893 million euro in divestments, mainly from the sale of 16.34% of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH). These deals were closed at prices in excess of market expectations, as were the divestments of Edinburgh and Stansted airports by HAH.
Mr Meirás underlined the company's long-term strategy of funding through the capital markets; in 2012, the main assets issued over 4.5 billion euro in bonds. He also noted that, in January 2013, Ferrovial issued its first bond: 500 million euro at 5 years.
The CEO highlighted some of the major contracts that Ferrovial obtained during the year, including maintenance services in Sheffield (UK) for 25 years, two waste treatment plants in the Canary Islands (Spain), concessions for the Highway 407 East Extension (Canada) and the A-66 Benavente-Zamora toll road (Spain), as well as construction of Route 460 in Virginia (US) and two tunnels for the high-speed railway to Galicia (Spain).
He also discussed the good performance of Ferrovial businesses outside Spain, which offset the decline in the domestic market. The backlog amounted to 21.483 billion euro, which ensures activity in the medium and long term in Construction and Services. As a result of the company's geographic diversification strategy, projects outside Spain account for 62% of the backlog. Ferrovial currently obtains 66% of revenues from overseas operations.
Supplementary dividend of 0.25 euro
The shareholders approved the payment of a dividend amounting to 0.25 euro per share, to supplement the 1 euro per share paid in December.
All of the items on the agenda were passed, including approval of the financial statements, the Board of Directors' performance, and the re-appointment of all its members. The shareholders also approved a share-based remuneration plan for the executive directors and senior management.