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Atlantia requested govt respect market conditions in motorway deal-letter

MILAN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Italy’s Atlantia made clear to the Rome government back in July that any deal over its motorway assets would need to meet market conditions and protect the rights of minority shareholders, a document seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.

In a letter dated July 14 sent to the government, the group controlled by the Benetton family outlined the conditions at which it was ready to enter a deal to settle a long-running dispute with Rome.

Atlantia has been locked in a legal battle with the state over its motorway concession since the deadly collapse of a bridge operated by its Autostrade per l’Italia toll-road unit in 2018. The government has been threatening to strip Autostrade of its concession.

In a bid to resolve the stalemate, during a six-hour cabinet meeting on July 14, the government approved a plan that would see Atlantia pull out of Autostrade to make room for state lender CDP.

Under the government plan agreed with Atlantia, CDP would buy into a reserved capital increase at Autostrade becoming its leading shareholder before letting other investors in, with a view to an eventual stock market listing of the unit.

In the letter sent to the transport and economy ministers on the day of the cabinet meeting, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, Atlantia said that in the absence of a deal that met the conditions outlined the group would be ready to sell the motorway assets directly to CDP, but only after the dispute over the concession had been settled. (Reporting by Stefano Bernabei, writing by Francesca Landini, editing by Valentina Za)

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