The ACS Group began operating in 1983 when a group of engineers acquired Construcciones Padrós, a mid-sized construction company with financial problems located in Badalona (Catalonia). After restructuring this company, the same strategy was employed with the acquisition of OCISA, a prestigious construction company which was larger and had already been in operation for over 40 years.
At the end of the eighties, a diversification process was initiated through the acquisition of SEMI, a company specialised in the maintenance and installation of electricity lines. This process was continued with the purchase of a majority shareholding in Cobra, one of the most renowned companies in the sector of support services to electricity and telecommunications companies, and a market leader with over 80 years’ experience.
The first of the large company mergers took place in 1992 with the creation of OCP, which would be the seed for the Group structured as it is today. OCP became one of the leading construction company groups in Spain. A second large merger took place in 1997, with the creation of ACS as a result of OCP's merger with Auxini and Gines Navarro.
At the end of the nineties, the Group incorporated most of the companies forming its current services area; Onyx, a provider of environmental services; Imes, a company dedicated to public lighting services, integral maintenance and control services; and Vertresa, the largest waste treatment plant in Madrid.
The turn of the century started with the integration of the Dragados Group, which positioned the ACS Group as the indisputable leader in the Spanish market and as one the most important companies in the industry on the European continent.
Parallel to this entire integration process, the ACS Group established the basis for its future strategy, focusing its activity on relevant sectors of the Spanish and European economy. In 2003, Abertis, one of the top companies in infrastructure management, was created. The ACS Group sold its 10.33% holding in April 2012 to allow a new industrial partner to enter and facilitate its expansion in the Brazilian market.
Later, in 2005, the Group established the base for its Energy area with its investment in Unión Fenosa and subsequently strengthened this area with the purchase of a holding in Iberdrola in the last quarter of 2006. These investments enabled ACS to position itself as a benchmark industrial company with two of the main energy companies in the European market.
In 2007, the ACS Group acquired a significant stake in Hochtief, a world leader in infrastructure development with a powerful presence in the USA, Central Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia. This operation is designed to provide a platform for the ACS Group to accelerate its international expansion.
In July 2008, the ACS Group sold its shareholding in Unión Fenosa, maintaining its presence in energy sector through Iberdrola, leading Spanish electricity company, in which the ACS Group is a shareholder with an 18.83% stake at 31 December 2011, which was 14.85% in April 2012 due to the capital increase carried out by Iberdrola derived from scrip dividend scheme and the partial sale of its holding carried out by ACS Group.
In 2008 ACS started to operate its first solar thermal plant with thermal storage devices in Spain, the plant Andasol I in Granada. This outstanding milestone is the beginning of the international expansion of this activity, as shown the contract awarded in 2011 for the development of a solar thermal project in Nevada (United States) with this technology. Industrial Services area is a worldwide leading company in the construction of renewable energy facilities, both solar thermal plants and wind farms, infrastructures related to electricity generation , such as combined cycle and hydroelectric power plants , infrastructures related to oil industry, such as refineries and platforms and it is a reference company in the development of assets related to gas sector, such as liquefaction plants, regasification plants and massive gas storage facilities.
During the last years the ACS Group has carried out a strong international expansion process in all its areas of activity, focussing on large-scale projects. This strategy, which is mainly focused on guaranteeing the ACS Group's competitiveness, investment capacity and growth in the future, has been boosting during 2011 through the acquisition of a majority share in Hochtief, which implies an important platform for international growth and with the objective of global leadership in the infrastructure sector. As well, this strategic decision allows increasing the competitive advantages and the profitability of all companies of the Group, as a result of important opportunities of commercial collaboration, operating efficiency and a strengthening of ACS Group financial structure.