The toll road concessionaires never lose. On September 1, 2021, the barriers of four turnpikes Spanish companies and cost the Government 1,069.9 million euros. A few months later we assumed that the rescue of other new toll highways could cost more than 4,500 million euros.
Now, the bill could rise with the more than 1,000 million euros that Audasa, the company AP-9 concessionaireif the European Commission declares the contract for the award of this road illegal.
The company has its back
In Spain we know very well what it is to rescue a toll road. Over the last few years, the Government has spent billions of euros in compensation to several concessionaires of these highways, but the bill could rise soon.
The European Commission has in its sights the AP-9 motorway that links Ferrol with Tui, in Galicia. In 1994, the Government led by Felipe González extended the concession of this highway until 2023 by decree, without a public tender.
In the year 2000, the Government of José María Aznar did exactly the same and extended the concession of this motorway, which is held by the company Audasa (Autopistas del Atlántico), until the year 2048.
These types of contracts have to be made through a public tender and not through Decrees, so the European Commission could declare the award to Audasa illegal and withdraw the concession of the AP-9 because these extensions violate community regulations.
While Brussels studies whether to reverse the extension of the AP-9 concession, Audasa has anticipated what could happen and has warned that it will ask more than 1,000 million euros as compensation to the Government if the award is declared illegal.
At the moment, the European Commission has only opened a file to Spain for the second extension of the highway concession, which extends the contract until the year 2048 through the Royal Decree 173/2000, of February 4. If the file becomes something else, Boldly warns:
“Any measures that could contemplate the modification or termination of the current concession contract for reasons not attributable to AUDASA and for reasons of public interest (as a consequence or not of the adoption of said measures) would imply in any case and in accordance with current legislation the AUDASA’s right to be duly compensated, compensation that in AUDASA’s opinion would be significantly higher than the current amount of its debt”.
The amount of compensation would be given by the amount of financial debt that the company currently has. According to Europa Pressthat amount would amount to €1,034 million at the end of 2022.
Beyond the compensation to Audasa, what may happen to the AP-9 if Europe declares it illegal remains up in the air. The Government should decide whether to end the toll or submit to public tender a new highway concession to comply with community regulations.
Source: Motorpasión by www.motorpasion.com.
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