June 14, 2020 / 4:26 PM / in a month

Italy to decide on Atlantia's motorway concession in 15 days-minister

MILAN, June 14 (Reuters) - The Italian government will take a decision on Atlantia’s motorway concession over the next 15 days, Transport Minister Paola De Micheli told Rainews24 broadcaster on Sunday.

The future of the motorway concession held by the infrastructure group has been in doubt since a motorway bridge in Genoa operated by Atlantia’s motorway division collapsed in 2018, killing 43 people.

Italy’s ruling 5-Star Movement has threatened to strip the motorway concession from Atlantia or get the Benetton family, which controls the company, to cede control of the motorway business.

“We have started an in-depth review of the motorway issue within the government and ... reasonably we will reach a decision within 15 days,” the minister said.

5-Star’s governing partners, the centre-left Democratic Party and centrist Italia Viva, are concerned that revoking the concession would cost billions in compensation to the motorway company, potentially leading to a long legal battle.

Atlantia’s motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia sent a 2.9 billion euro settlement proposal to the government in March but has so far received no response from the government.

If no agreement is in sight by the end of June, Autostrade will be forced to decide whether to launch a procedure to hand back its licence and ask for compensation to protect its shareholders, a source at Autostrade has told Reuters. (Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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