Atlantia's two key investors block extension of motorway spin-off plan

MILAN (Reuters) -The Benetton family and Italian banking foundation CRT, two key investors in Atlantia, voted on Monday against extending a plan to spin off motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia until the end of July, blocking the proposal.

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

Since pressing ahead with the spin-off is currently conditional on Atlantia receiving a new offer for its demerged motorway assets by Wednesday and there is no offer in sight, Monday’s vote means the spin-off will likely be scrapped.

It also means that the Benettons and CRT prefer that the infrastructure group focuses on ongoing talks to sell the unit to a consortium led by state lender CDP, as they suggested in a statement last week.

CDP, together with Macquarie and Blackstone, have been negotiating with Atlantia for the acquisition of its 88% stake in Autostrade since last year as the group tried to end a dispute triggered by the 2018 collapse of a bridge in Genoa run by the unit, which killed 43 people.

The Benetton family controls Atlantia with a 30% stake while CTR owns nearly 5% of the infrastructure group.

Atlantia said in a statement that two investors representing 48.06% of the 72.32% of the share capital attending the EGM voted against the proposal, blocking its approval.

“The proposed resolution did not reach the quorum required by law for EGM, equal to two thirds of the capital represented,” Atlantia said, adding 1,167 shareholders equal to 51.80% of the capital represented at the EGM voted in favour of the extension, with the remainder abstaining.

The CDP-led consortium, which was expected to submit a revised offer for Atlantia’s stake in Autostrade last weekend, said late on Sunday that work on a final bid was still ongoing.

Sources familiar with the matter said the new offer, which will likely be finalised by Wednesday, still values all of Autostrade at 9.1 billion euros ($10.72 billion) but makes some concessions compared with a bid presented in February.

($1 = 0.8490 euros)

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