January 15, 2020 / 7:00 AM / 6 days ago

Benetton's Edizione in contact with F2i for fund's interest in Atlantia: chairman

FILE PHOTO: A logo of the Atlantia Group is seen outside their headquarters in Rome, Italy August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

ROME (Reuters) - The Benetton family’s Edizione is in contact with F2i over the infrastructure fund’s interest in taking a stake in Atlantia (ATL.MI), the chairman of the holding company was quoted as saying in daily Il Messaggero on Wednesday.

The move comes amid a shake-up at Atlantia - controlled by the Benetton family with a stake of 30% - following last year’s deadly collapse of a bridge in the port city of Genoa operated by the group’s tollway unit Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI).

Following the disaster, which killed 43 people, Italian ruling coalition party 5-Star Movement criticized Atlantia and the Benetton family, demanding that ASPI be stripped of its motorway concession.

“If they are in favor of entering in (Atlantia), surely we are available, given that (the fund) works in the infrastructure sector,” Gianni Mion said, adding that first contact was made two years ago.

The executive, appointed at in June, said that Edizione will appoint advisors to seek potential investors for Atlantia’s units Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) and Telepass, the toll-road payment business.

Reuters reported last week that Atlantia was preparing to restart an auction process to sell up to 49% of Telepass after bids last year valued the entire business at more than 2 billion euros ($2.23 billion).

Last month, Reuters reported that Edizione was ready to sell a stake of up to 49% in ADR as part of a broader overhaul of Atlantia.

Mion said that after a string of appointments, Edizione would review the “shape” of Autostrade, but first aims to settle the issue of the motorway concessions.

Autostrade’s concession to operate more than 3,000 km (1,864 miles) of Italian motorways accounts for one-third of Atlantia’s core profit. Uncertainty over the government’s decision whether to revoke the concession has weighed on the share price.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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