August 16, 2018 / 6:09 PM / a year ago

S&P places Atlantia on CreditWatch negative after bridge collapse

MILAN (Reuters) - Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday it had placed its BBB+ rating on Italian toll-road operator Atlantia (ATL.MI) on CreditWatch negative following the deadly collapse of a bridge in Genoa.

The ratings agency said the move reflected the risk of potential litigation against Atlantia and possible fines for damages or even termination of concessions held by Atlantia unit Autostrade per l’Italia.

An 200-metre-long section of the bridge gave way on Tuesday, plunging dozens of vehicles 50 metres below and killing at least 38 people.

The bridge is part of the A10 toll road that is operated by the Atlantia unit.

S&P said it saw limited headroom in Atlantia’s credit ratios following its 16.7 billion euro ($19 billion) bid to acquire Spanish toll road operator Abertis Infraestructuras.

“As a result, additional costs for emergency safety inspections or extraordinary maintenance expenditures on other network assets could impair the ability of Atlantia to maintain credit ratios commensurate with the current ratings,” it said.

($1 = 0.8807 euros)

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Steve Scherer

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