Spanish infrastructure group Abertis, the country's biggest highway operator, said on Thursday its first-quarter net profit more than doubled from the figure last year due to the sale of its stake in Italian motorway firm Atlantia.
The company posted a net profit for the three months ending in March of 275 million euros ($408 million), a 130.8-percent jump from the outcome in the same period last year.
Analysts had expected the company to announce a net profit of 272 million euros for the period.
The results were boosted by the 151 million euros in capital gains which the company pocketed from the sale of its 6.68 percent stake in Atlantia in January.
If these capital gains are excluded, Abertis' net profit rose in the first quarter 4.1 percent to 124 million euros.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a key measure of profitability, rose 1.9 percent to 549 million euros as its international operations offset continuing weakness in its domestic market.
Revenues from its toll road business, which accounted for 74 percent of its total revenues during the period, rose 0.7 percent to 680 million euros.
Traffic figures for Abertis' toll road network fell by 5.5 percent in Spain but this was offset by a 6.4 percent jump in traffic in Latin America and a 3.8 percent rise in traffic in France.
Spain is struggling with an unemployment of just over 20 percent, the highest in Europe, following the collapse of a property bubble which had been the motor of economic growth.