The latest negotiation with the Benettons


Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri worked all day to finalize the proposal. In constant contact with the Benettons and with the leaders of Atlantia, the company they control and which in turn guarantees them control of Autostrade. The latest proposal. The one that can save the Benettons from the expulsion and the Government from the risk of compensation of 23 billion. What will be brought to the table of the night Council of Ministers as an alternative to the solution of the revocation pushed by the 5 stars. The proposal, of which Huffpost it came to know from two top-level sources that worked on mediation, it says: Cassa Depositi e Prestiti enters Autostrade and the share of the Benettons dilutes, going in the minority. Then Autostrade is pulled out of the perimeter of Atlantia and listed on the stock exchange. By putting a large slice on the market and having inside the state it is clear that Autostrade will no longer be the Benetton company. But at the same time the Benettons can say they have avoided forced removal.

The scheme that can bring the government and the Benettons together

The layout has yet to be detailed, but what matters is that it holds the needs of the two counterparts together. The idea is not new. Already in October 2018, a few months after the collapse of the viaduct on the Polcevera, it had been accounted for confidentially. But then he didn’t do anything. Now come back out and it could be decisive. The first step is the entry of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti into Autostrade. Probably through a capital increase. In practice Cdp puts the money into the company, which thus enhances itself, and then proceeds to recalculate the shares. Atlantia’s share goes from 88% to a minority share and the shares of the other shareholders, which are already a minority today, also drop. At that point Autostrade is spun off from Atlantia and a large slice (the one that is not in the hands of Cdp) is put on the market. The pattern with which you arrive on the markets is two-headed, that is, with two reference partners: one public, precisely Cdp, and the other linked to the galaxy of current shareholders who cannot be defenestrated. Once on the market, the individual shareholders, who are finished in the minority, will decide what to do and whether to buy or sell the shares. Obviously Cdp will also be able to do so, which could thus increase in weight. And of course all companies and funds that are interested in being part of the new Autostrade can do it. So the Benettons are downsized, but they are not kicked out to cite the expression used by some exponents of the 5 star Movement.

The decision in the Council of Ministers

The government would ask Atlantia to formulate the new proposal and present it in line with the times of the Council of Ministers. An trick to make the idea appear as proper to the company and not to the executive. Gualtieri will anticipate it to the ministers during the meeting even if the sheet of paper does not arrive with this new perspective. Also because the maximum point that can be reached now is to decide to continue negotiating, leaving the door to mediation open. The details need a long job, which the sources set in at least “a few months”. But what matters is deciding whether to leave the door open to the Benettons or close it. And this decision belongs only to the government. At night.

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