The Eje Aeropuerto M-12 toll road, which joins the center of Madrid with Barajas Airport, has filed for protection from its creditors with a Madrid court, given that it is currently saddled with debts of 550 million euros. The toll road, which is 100-percent owned by construction group OHL, is one of a dozen or so operators in Spain currently facing bankruptcy, and which are also in the process of seeking protection from creditors.
In the case of the M-12 road, creditors have a month to communicate the outstanding amounts owed to them.
In November, OHL attributed the company’s financial difficulties to an “increase in construction and expropriation costs, which were substantially higher than forecast,” as well as the “extraordinarily low” levels of traffic registered by the toll road.
According to the company, these factors are impeding the availability of resources to “deal with obligations stemming from expropriations,” which, it said at the time, will soon be demanded of it.
OHL has reported that the Autopista Eje Aeropuerto concession holder has a pending bank debt of 222.1 million euros, and liabilities of 557 million euros.
The Eje Aeropuerto road lost 2.5 percent of its users last year, but is still the toll road with the highest levels of traffic of all those that are facing bankruptcy, with around 17,834 vehicles every day, according to the Public Works Ministry.
The road is one of the 10 that the ministry is considering integrating into a public motorways company, with the aim of guaranteeing their long-term viability. According to the plan being prepared by Public Works Minister Ana Pastor, the ministry will own 80 percent of the new company, with the remaining 20 percent distributed among the current concession holders for the troubled toll roads. These include the Madrid turnpikes, the Alicante toll road, and the motorways joining Madrid and Toledo, Cartagena and Vera, and Ocaña and La Roda.