ACS appoints Juan Santamaría new CEO and number two of Florentino Pérez

The ACS shareholders' meeting has approved the appointment of Juan Santamaría, current president and CEO of Cimic -its Australian subsidiary--, as executive director of the company, which has allowed him to be named the new CEO of the group, according to Europe Press.

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This has been announced by president, Florentino Perezduring his speech at the general meeting of shareholders of the construction company, held this Friday in Madrid with a quorum of 55.8% and which has approved all the items on the agenda, including the distribution of a dividend of 2 euros per share .

After the resignation of Marcelino Fernández Verdes in March of last year from the position of CEO, this position remained vacant until now, in the same way that the resignation of Fernández Verdes also gave way in November 2020 to the appointment of Santamaría as president of Cimic.

Previously, Santamaría was CEO of CPB Contractors, the Cimic group's construction business, with responsibility for all geographies, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, India and Asia. Prior to that, he held positions such as Managing Director of UGL, Cimic Group's services business, and Executive General Manager of Public Private Partnerships and Construction West at CPB Contractors.

Santamaría was also CEO of Iridium, an ACS group company, between 2014 and 2015, as well as executive director and director of operations of ACS Infrastructure North America and Canada between 2006 and 2013. Florentino Pérez has assured in the meeting that the incorporation of Santamaría in the top management of the group "will help to face the current strategic challenges of the company and will be of great value to the company as a whole".

Opportunities in the United States and dividend hike

Regarding these strategic challenges, the Chairman once again insisted that the main objective is to reinvest the nearly 3,000 million euros of capital gains obtained from the sale of the industrial business to Vinci in the development of concession assets, mainly through the 50 % controlling in Abertis together with its Italian partner Atlantia, from the Benetton family.

Following the refusal of the Italians to a possible purchase by ACS of the assets of Abertis that it does not control, Pérez has announced that he is analyzing new highway concession opportunities in the United States, whose talks could be at a very advanced stage, since He has assured that the result will be announced “soon”.

The Chairman of ACS has also advanced that the capital increases approved at the meeting for a maximum value of 600 million euros will allow the distribution of a dividend for this year of 2 euros per share, which represents an increase of 16% compared to the last year, 1.72 euros per share.

To meet these future dividends, which are expected to be delivered next July and in February of next year, the company will undertake a first increase of 460 million euros in the next three months and, in the first quarter of 2023, a second will not exceed 140 million euros.

ACS shareholders have also given their approval to the entry of the independent director María José García Beato, current director of Banco Sabadell; the setting of the number of board members at fifteen members, and the appointment of KPMG as auditor of the accounts for the year 2022.

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