UPDATE 1-Atlantia introduces measures to protect group against unethical behaviour

(Adds details, adds 9-month results)

MILAN, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Italy’s Atlantia introduced new measures on Friday to protect the group against unlawful and unethical behaviour by employees after police put three former managers under house arrest in an investigation linked to a 2018 bridge collapse.

The infrastructure group said it would look at whether current and former employees caught up in the case had breached laws or ethical standards and would take disciplinary measures against them if necessary.

The board voted in favour of suspending severance package payments to its former CEO Giovanni Castellucci while asking for reimbursement of the part already paid.

Castellucci, who served as CEO of Atlantia and the group’s Autostrade per l’Italia unit for more than a decade, was put under house arrest on Wednesday in an investigation linked to a bridge disaster in Genoa that killed 43 people.

In the arrest warrant, judges wrote that wiretapped conversations showed Autostrade had been able to pay out high dividends based on profits boosted by “the systematic reduction of maintenance on the motorway network”.

Atlantia’s board expressed “disbelief and disapproval” over the comments in the arrest warrant.

“It is key that the group presses on with the process of profound change it started in 2019,” Atlantia said.

The Italian government has threatened to revoke Autostrade’s motorway concession following the bridge collapse.

The developments in the investigation come at a delicate moment for the group, controlled by the Benetton family, which is in talks with a consortium led by Italy’s state-backed investor CDP over the sale of its stake in Autostrade.

In a separate statement, the group repeated that it believed reaching a deal with the government over Autostrade’s concession was “reasonably likely”.

It also said the coronavirus would reduce its 2020 revenue by 3.5 billion euros ($4.1 billion) from last year - more than the 3-billion-euro drop it had indicated in August.

The group reported a net loss of 718 million euros compared with a profit of 1.038 billion euros in the same period last year. (Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Stephen Jewkes and Angus MacSwan)