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Ferrovial faces backlash over proposed takeover of Australian firm Broadspectrum

Australian human rights campaigners are warning investors of the risks Spanish multinational infrastructure operator, Ferrovial, could face if its takeover bid of Australian firm Broadspectrum is approved. This company  is the Australian government’s lead contractor in the operation of its controversial offshore detention centres (ODCs) in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

A report has been produced for investors, financiers, clients and partners of Ferrovial  by Australian non-profit groups No Business in Abuse, GetUp, and The Human Rights Law Centre which outlines what they believe are human rights abuses being perpetrated by Broadspectrum in the running of the ODCs. The pressure they are putting under Broadspectrum about these practices and their running of the ODCs means they say, that Ferrovial is likely to face reputational risks if it goes ahead with its takeover of Broadspectrum.

Already the groups claim that their campaign has meant that several institutional investors have divested their holdings based on Broadspectrum’s association with human rights abuses and MSCI has flagged Broadspectrum’s involvement in the ODCs as a ‘Very Severe Controversy’ and downgraded its IVA rating accordingly. Broadspectrum is also currently involved in a large-scale class action based on the conditions, healthcare and security arrangements at the Manus Island ODC.

 The pressure groups are planning a tour of Europe to meet with investors, ratings agencies and other stakeholders to put forward their arguments and to attempt to stop the takeover of Broadspectrum which was announce last December.

When the bid was announced Ferrovial said the acquisition would support its entry into the Australian market by integrating a large services company with a significant platform across various segments. Broadspectrum operates in Australia and other countries like USA, Canada and Chile, and in energy, mining, telecommunications and infrastructure maintenance markets. The company says it provides logistics, facilities management, consulting, construction, care, welfare, operations, maintenance, well servicing, and business support services.

What do you think?