August 17, 2018 / 7:21 AM / 4 months ago

Atlantia to hold board meetings after Genoa bridge disaster - source

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian toll-road group Atlantia has called special board meetings next week to discuss the deadly collapse of a bridge it operates in Genoa, a source said on Friday.

Firefighter helicopter flies over the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Autostrade per l’Italia, the Atlantia unit that manages the stretch of motorway in northern Italy where the bridge is located, is expected to hold a board meeting on Tuesday while the Benetton-backed parent company will hold its own meeting on Wednesday, the source said.

A series of technical and legal issues will be presented to Atlantia and Autostrade board members next week, according to the source .

No management changes were expected, resisting calls from senior politicians for Autostrade’s top executives to resign, the source added.

A 200-metre section of the bridge gave way on Tuesday in busy lunchtime traffic, claiming at least 38 lives and triggering calls from the anti-establishment government for Atlantia road concessions to be withdrawn.

Shares in Atlantia plunged more than 30 percent in the days after the bridge collapse touching an all-time low of 17.26 euros on Thursday.

The stock gained 3.4 percent by 1011 GMT on Friday at 18.9 euros.

Autostrade, which operates 3,000 kilometres of motorways in Italy, accounts for 66 percent of Atlantia’s revenues.

Credit rating agency S&P said on Thursday it had placed its ‘BBB+’ rating on Atlantia on CreditWatch negative to reflect the risk of potential litigation and possible fines.

Two government sources told Reuters that a threat to revoke Autostrade’s nationwide concession could be unaffordable and that it might settle instead for a heavy fine.

On Friday Italian newspapers said market watchdog Consob had contacted the government to warn there were procedures that needed to be followed when making comments about a listed company.

Consob declined to comment.

Italy’s Transport Ministry has given Autostrade 15 days to show it has met all its contractual obligations, failing which Rome could consider it in breach of the terms of its concessions.

On Friday the ministry said all structural testing of infrastructure under concession was the responsibility of the operator and not the government.

Reporting by Paola Arosio, writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Keith Weir

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