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MILAN, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Italian infrastructure group Atlantia said on Friday that the financial and advisory costs linked to its takeover bid for Spain’s Abertis had dented its nine-month profit.
The group controlled by the Benetton family launched in October a 15.6 billion euro ($18.20 billion) bid for Abertis to create the world’s biggest toll-road operator. The bid was backed by bank financing of more than 10 billion euros.
Atlantia said financial expenses linked to its offer for Abertis were 13 million euros in the first nine months. Costs relating to the Abertis’ bid and the sale of a stake in its ASPI unit translated into a near 40 million euro hit on its net profit.
Despite these charges, the group’s net profit rose 6 percent year-on-year to 860 million euros.
In the first half net profit had posted a 25 percent rise.
Atlantia’s takeover offer is on hold after Spanish builder ACS put forward a 17.1 billion euro rival bid for Abertis through its German subsidiary Hochtief.
A review by the Spanish market watchdog of the ACS/Hochtief bid could take weeks or months, analysts have said, leaving the shares of the groups involved in the bidding war at the mercy of speculation.
Atlantia has not disclosed its intentions for Abertis after the ACS/Hochtief move, but sources said last month the Italian group would decide on whether to improve its offer after the market watchdog has made up its mind on ACS/Hochtief.
The company, which operates motorway networks in Italy and abroad and manages Rome’s and Nice’s airports, said traffic on its Italian motorway network rose 2.3 percent in the first nine months of the year while it grew 3.4 percent on its foreign motorways.
Passenger traffic at Rome’s airports was broadly unchanged, while the newly acquired Nice airport reported a 6.4 percent rise.
Nine-month operating revenue was up 10 percent at 4.53 billion euros. ($1 = 0.8571 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Hugh Lawson)