January 6, 2020 / 1:42 PM / 13 days ago

FACTBOX-Atlantia under pressure as motorway concession in doubt

MILAN, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Italy is moving closer to a decision on the future of the motorway concession operated by Atlantia, the infrastructure group in charge of a highway bridge that collapsed in Genoa in August 2018, killing 43 people.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told la Repubblica daily on Monday: “At the stage of the analysis we have reached, I can say that it is evident someone made mistakes and is responsible for serious and unforgivable acts of negligence.”

Atlantia, whose Autostrade per l’Italia business runs more than half of Italy’s motorways, has denied any wrongdoing over the Genoa disaster and has said it always acted in compliance with its obligations.

The government recently passed measures reducing compensation for early termination of a contract if the concession holder is in breach of its obligations.

Following are some key details about Atlantia:

* Atlantia is 30% owned by the Benetton family holding company. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC holds 8%.

* With 31,000 staff, Atlantia manages 14,000 km of toll-roads across 23 countries, including 3,000 km in Italy where Autostrade is the biggest operator.

* Atlantia controls 88% of Autostrade and guarantees part of its debt. Other Autostrade shareholders are an investor consortium led by German insurer Allianz, which holds a 7% stake, and China’s Silk Road Fund with a 5% stake.

* The 2018 acquisition of Spanish rival Abertis has made Atlantia the biggest motorway operator in Spain and Brazil, also boosting its operations in Chile and France, where it now controls a quarter of the toll-road network.

* Atlantia owns Rome airports’ operator Aeroporti di Roma, and has a 39% stake in the company that manages the Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez airports.

* Atlantia reported a 2018 core profit of 7 billion euros ($8 billion) on revenues of 11 billion euros, a third of which came from Autostrade. Net debt totalled 38 billion euros.

* Autostrade’s Chief Executive Roberto Tomasi has said that cancelling the contract with reduced compensation could force the company into bankruptcy.

* An Autostrade source has told Reuters the loss of the concession without compensation could trigger a default on some 16 billion euros in debt. It would make it impossible for Autostrade to repay debt of 10.8 billion euros and create difficulties for 5.3 billion euros of Atlantia’s debt.

* The Autostrade source said international investors owned most of those 16 billion euros, adding that part of it was held by banks. The source also said 17,000 small Italian savers had bought a 750 million euro Autostrade bond. ($1 = 0.8925 euros) (Compiled by Valentina Za. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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