January 17, 2020 / 7:06 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Autostrade CEO says the toll-road firm will go bankrupt if concession revoked - media

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MILAN, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Autostrade per l’Italia, the toll-road unit of Italy’s infrastructure group Atlantia , will go bankrupt if the government revokes its motorway concession, the unit’s CEO, Roberto Tomasi, told La Repubblica newspaper.

Atlantia has come under fire after the collapse of a concrete bridge operated by Autostrade killed 43 people in the port city of Genoa in August 2018.

In a separate interview with La Repubblica, Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli said that revoking Autotrade’s concession was a consequence of the disaster and that conditions of Autostrade-run roads made feel people unsafe.

In a bid to break a standoff with the Italian government over the future of its lucrative concession, Autostrade on Thursday pledged to increase its spending on road maintenance 40% in the next four years

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday the government would not discuss whether to strip Autostrade of its motorway concession at a cabinet meeting on Friday, suggesting there could be some time for emergency talks with the company.

His comments follow information from two sources on Wednesday that Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, was ready to reopen talks with the government on road tolls to try to mend fences with Rome.

In the La Repubblica interview, Tomasi, asked about a top manager at an Atlantia unit who sold a block of shares in the Italian infrastructure group on the same day ratings agency Fitch downgraded it, said he personally wouldn’t have done it.

Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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