Autostrade, the torment of the Benetton family: we must not divide


While Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has set the final decision on the revocation of the concession to reels or weight reduction of Atlantia in the subsidiary, – and the concrete risk for the Benetton family to lose the game of the Italian motorways – the Ponzano Veneto dynasty is also dealing with another delicate phase that this time touches the assets of the safe. To be precise, Edition which holds 30% of Atlantia (in turn owns 88% of Aspi and Aeroporti di Roma), also controls Autogrill, the United colors historic stores of the Benetton group and the transmission towers for Cellnex telephony and real estate companies : a reality with over one hundred thousand employees, of which 30 thousand in Italy and approximately 18 billion of consolidated revenues. At the center of this phase – a track that runs parallel to the Autostrade issue – is the assembly on Tuesday 21 July which will have to define the new governance of the Edizione safe and appoint the president.

It will be a strategic step that arrives in a family where the branch of Luciano Benetton (about a quarter of the capital in bare ownership and with the right to vote), together with his son Alessandro, seems to be less and less comfortable in being together with the other three branches of the dynasty. That is to say that of Giuliana Benetton, of Sabrina (46 years old, daughter of Gilberto), of Massimo (52 years old, son of Carlo). Alessandro, 56, has long had his own activities and perhaps caresses the idea of ​​becoming definitively autonomous. He has been talking about it for a year, that is since he was appointed president of Edizione Gianni Mion, as part of a renewal of the board that saw the release of the CEO Marco Patuano. Alessandro has entrepreneurial activities through 21 investments which supports the country’s businesses and has activities with an aggregate turnover of 1.4 billion euros.

On the other hand, a division has been created in several industrial families, which have reached the second or third generation. Although in this case the interaction clashes with a very rigid statute and the situation that the Edizione holding company is experiencing in relation not only to Aspi but also to the difficulties in clothing activities such as that of Benetton group and Autogrill (which has suffered the lockdown). All have come to terms with the slowdown in activities imposed by the pandemic. Will an agreement be sought at a critical moment when the family needs unity? Having overcome the most serious difficulties, it can be assumed that the theme of separation is taken up again with more serenity. But the key issue that Edizione will have to face in the assembly is the renewal of governance: board, board of statutory auditors and presidency. The market now expects the heirs to find medium to long term stability and complete an overall plan. Which could be expressed on a three-year board, without excluding a presidency – even of a shorter duration – by Mion himself, provided that there is always his availability. And this also to give time to the board to finish the search for the CEO, a place that has remained vacant since the departure of Patuano. For some months now, the figure of the general manager has been missing from Edizione after the appointment at the beginning of the year of Carlo Bertazzo at the top of Atlantia. All these assignments, including the hypothesis of expanding the number of directors from eight to eleven to bring new skills and experiences on the board, took longer due to the lockdown. The large and demanding construction site. The holding edition of the Benetton family has made many market operations – from the acquisition of Sme with Gs and Autogrill, of the Autostrade and then of Gemina-Adr – through vehicle companies called Schema (also followed by a number). Now we need a new scheme. This time for future arrangements in the family and in business.

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