May 5, 2009 / 9:01 AM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Cintra's Chile motorways sale has binding offers

* Has binding offers for Chile motorways

* Ferrovial merger project possibly resolved in 09

* Q1 EBITDA down to 95.8 mln euros on lower traffic

* Shares up 3.60 pct at 4.32 euros

(Recasts lead, adds detail from conference call, updates share)

By Judy MacInnes

MADRID, May 5 (Reuters) - Spanish toll road firm Cintra CCIT.MC has received binding offers for its Chilean motorway concessions, which it put up for sale along with its car parking business last year, the company said on Tuesday.

“The two sale processes are progressing, but I can say we have already received binding offers for the Chilean motorways,” a Cintra executive told analysts, but declined to provide more details.

Questioned on the timetable for Cintra’s possible merger with Spanish parent Ferrovial FER.MC, the executive said a schedule “is difficult to come up with,” but said that “one way or the other we think 2009 should be the year”.

Ferrovial said in December it was looking at a possible merger but there were no agreements in place as yet. Cintra said in January it had agreed to consider a possible tie-up.

The key issue affecting any such operation is the share exchange. Shareholders representing 4.2 percent of Cintra’s share capital have already said they would only support a takeover at a rate of one Ferrovial share for every 1.5 Cintra shares or better.

RESULTS NOT COMPARABLE

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) fell to 95.8 million euros ($128.3 million) from 99.9 million euros, the company said in a statement.

Core earnings were depressed by declining traffic and exchange rate fluctuations.

But analysts were caught off guard by the results, as Cintra said its parking business and motorway concessions are no longer consolidated in the group. This means the numbers are not directly comparable with those of 2008.

A poll of seven analysts consulted by Reuters had forecast EBITDA of 108 million euros.

Apart from the deconsolidation of these businesses, Cintra also said it has changed the method of accounting for four of its motorway concessions, including its Greek motorways.

“Without the changes, numbers would have come out very much in line with our operating figures and the consensus,” ESR analysts said in a note.

Cintra swung to a net profit of 12 million euros from a net loss of 6.7 million euros.

Debt amounted to 6.264 billion euros at end-March and the Cintra executive said the company does not see any significant problem in coming years to finance existing commitments and new projects just taken on.

“We will need no re-gearing nor any disposals whatsoever,” he said.

Cintra shares rose 3.60 percent to 4.32 euros at 1228 GMT, while the IBEX35 was up 0.58 percent. ($1=.7467 Euro) (Reporting by Judy MacInnes; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

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