Atlantia, the Benetton family is ready to step back, at market conditions

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The Edizioni holding company willing to relinquish control as long as it responds to an industrial logic and in the future brings value to all the stakeholders involved.

by Laura Galvagni

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The Edizioni holding company willing to relinquish control as long as it responds to an industrial logic and in the future brings value to all the stakeholders involved.

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Edition never made the concept of control a flag. In the past, even in the most recent one, it has put on the plate its role as majority shareholder of Atlantia and cascade of Autostrade per l’Italia with the aim of overcoming the impasse that has arisen around the theme of the revocation of the concession to Aspley. Today, as then, the Benetton family holding is ready to take a step back as long as this responds to an industrial logic and in perspective brings value to all the stakeholders involved.

This is the line taken by Ponzano Veneto, according to sources close to the dossier. Line known but relaunched in the last hours to send a clear message to the government now that the executive has taken over the “revocation” file and aims to close it tightly: Aspi and Atlantia are ready to meet political demands as long as the requests allow to preserve the economic and financial balance of the two realities and in redesigning the shareholding structure any ambition of “expropriation” or “masked nationalization” of the assets is set aside. In other words, Atlantia is willing to drop below 50% of Autostrade by selling up to 60% of the company but only in the event that this occurs through a market operation. The same applies to Edizione which, as had already been mentioned in the past, could reduce its stake in the holding, now to 30%, favoring the entry of an investor, in recent months there had been talk of Cdp and it is said that that hypothesis cannot be dusted off. What matters is that both on Aspi and on Atlantia, regardless of who the final interlocutor may be, it is a strategic entity that has industrial interest and evaluates the asset according to ordinary canons and not from season-end sales. To understand this, it is unthinkable that Autostrade is valued less than the debt it has in its belly, that is about 10 billion. If this were the case, the company would automatically default, at least on paper, and the shareholders of the companies involved would not be protected.

This is why, once the effort on reducing tariffs and on the amount of investments has been clarified, it is the scheme with which the shareholding will be reorganized. If for Aspi F2i in recent days it has reaffirmed its desire to remain an active subject and to be ready to proceed with an operation that sees the promoter fund deployed in the front row, the possible maneuver on Atlantia is to be defined. From the hypothesis of a CDP entry into the capital to that, which however would perhaps be less appreciated by the government, than the appearance of an international investor (Vinci?) With whom to define a new strategic project. All respecting the logic of the market.



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