June 19, 2018 / 1:47 PM / 2 years ago

Autogrill considers moves to boost value but has no firm plans

An Autogrill point is seen along the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Great Ring Junction) motorway in Rome, Italy, March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Autogrill (AGL.MI) said on Tuesday it was always looking for opportunities to boost the group’s value after a report the travel caterer was considering listing its U.S. unit HMSHost.

Shares in the company rose more than 4 percent after Bloomberg reported the Benetton family, which controls Autogrill though its Edizione holding, could list the restaurant division.

“Autogrill’s board (however) hasn’t started a feasibility study on any extraordinary operation,” an Autogrill spokesman said.

A banking source with knowledge of the matter said a potential listing of the business was an option that could be considered.

HMSHost, which operates restaurants in more than 120 airports worldwide, has annual sales of nearly $3.3 billion.

In an interview in Italian daily la Repubblica on Tuesday, Edizione Chief Executive Marco Patuano said the catering sector was a business that appealed greatly to the group.

“Autogrill is ready to get to grips with growth of its North America business even through acquisitions,” he said.

Edizione owns the Benetton Group clothes company and controls motorway and airport operator Atlantia (ATL.MI) which earlier this year was involved in a deal to buy Spanish competitor Abertis ABE.MC.

Reporting by Cristina Carlevaro and Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman

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