Obrascón Huarte Lain
|Traded as||BMAD: OHL|
|Key people||Juan-Miguel Villar Mir (Chairman and CEO)|
|Products||Infrastructure construction, toll-road and other transport concessions, residential and non-residential property|
|Revenue||€4.910 billion (2010)|
|Operating income||€700.1 million (2010)|
|Profit||€195.6 million (2010)|
|Total assets||€12.60 billion (end 2010)|
|Total equity||€2.025 billion (end 2010)|
|Employees||22,580 (average, 2010)|
Obrascón Huarte Lain, S.A. (Spanish pronunciation: [oβɾasˈkon ˈwarte ˈlain]), or OHL, is a Spanish-based multinational construction and civil engineering company. The company is involved in infrastructure and commercial property construction, homebuilding and the operation of toll road and other transport concessions. In the latter, the group is particularly active in Brazil through its majority-owned subsidiary OHL Brasil and in Mexico with OHL México. OHL also has a majority-owned American subsidiary called Tower-OHL Group which is based in Miami, Florida.
OHL was founded by the $900 million merger in 1999 of the firms Obrascón-Huarte and Construcciones Lain. Since July 2008 the company has been a constituent of the benchmark IBEX 35 stock market index on the Bolsa de Madrid.
The company's roots stretch back to May 1911 and the foundation of Sociedad General de Obras y Construcciones Obrascón, S.A., whose first project was the construction of two wharfs in the Port of Lisbon. The company grew over the decades, being acquired first by the Banco de Bilbao in 1953 and then by Altos Hornos de Vizcaya 20 years later. Obrascón fell into financial difficulties in the late 1980s, however, and was bought from bankruptcy for one penny in 1987 by Juan-Miguel Villar Mir, who remains the company's chairman today. Villar turned around the firm's fortunes and it listed on the Bolsa de Madrid in 1991.
In 1998 Obrascón merged with its larger, but struggling, rival Huarte, a major construction firm established in Pamplona in 1927. The following year a further merger was conducted with Construcciones Lain, a publicly traded firm originally founded as the Spanish arm of John Laing Construction in 1963. This deal created the Obrascón Huarte Lain group in its current form.
On November 30, 2010, OHL acquired 50.1% of the US construction company Judlau Contracting, Inc., specialized in civil engineering with headquarters operations in the state of New York.
On April 16, 2014, OHL lost the largest case for damages in the history of Gibraltar, having been judged to fail to comply with the terms of a contract to build a tunnel to cross the Gibraltar International Airport runway.
In May 2014, Miguel Fraile testified to Quebec's Charbonneau Commission that a Quebec-based competitor firm, SNC-Lavalin (SNC), wanted the business of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) to itself. SNC vice-president Riadh Ben Aissa “started by asking, who am I? Who is OHL? We are nothing. We are nobody. Montreal is SNC’s city, the MUHC is its project” as the corruption inquiry continued its study of the CAD$1.3-billion hospital project. Fraile reported that Ben Aissa told him OHL must withdraw from the bidding, which was set close in March of 2010, and that SNC was a “powerful company in Canada," and if OHL dropped out of the bid, the two firms might be able to team up in the future. “He said that if we won the contract, he would make our lives impossible.” The senior management of SNC, including Ben Aissa, has since been charged or dismissed under suspicion, and the premises have been raided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. OHL did not win the MUHC bid, even though it outbid SNC by $60 million.
- "Annual Results 2010". Obrascón Huarte Lain. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Cohen, M.L. (2006). "Obrascon Huarte Lain S.A.". International Directory of Company Histories. The Gale Group. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- "OHL History". Obrascón Huarte Lain. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Tizón, Alvaro (7 February 1999). "El Empresario que Surgió de la Crisis". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- "Government wins largest damages claim in Gibraltar's history". Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (in English). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- nationalpost.com: "SNC-Lavalin made threats against Spanish bid rival, Quebec corruption inquiry told" 22 May 2014
- cbc.ca: "A brief history of SNC-Lavalin" 30 Apr 2012