ROME (Reuters) - Atlantia’s board was discussing ways to reach a deal on its motorway assets with Italian state lender CDP on Monday, sources close to the matter said, with one adding that it could consider exclusive talks.
The Infrastructure group, which is controlled by the Benetton family with a 30% stake, has been embroiled in a legal dispute with the Italian government since 2018 when a bridge run by its motorway unit Autostrade collapsed, killing 43 people.
Although the row seemed to have been resolved in July, when Rome approved a plan that would see Atlantia cede control of Autostrade to CDP, it risked unravelling after talks stalled and Atlantia ATL.MI in September sought to dispose of its 88% Autostrade stake through an auction or a partial demerger.
Rome issued two deadlines for Atlantia to come back to the table, the second of which expired on Oct. 10 and Atlantia, the government and CDP restarted talks last week.
Atlantia’s board was set to discuss these negotiations and possible solutions to end the dispute, four sources said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
One of the sources said Atlantia could decide to enter one-week exclusive talks with CDP as an alternative to the dual-track process in place, to see whether the two parties could agree a deal for the entire 88% stake in Autostrade.
A source close to Atlantia, when asked about the idea of exclusive talks with CDP, said it was open to discuss any offer on its Autostrade stake as part of the dual track process launched in September but that no offer had yet been received.
Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, Stefano Bernabei, Stephen Jewkes, additional reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Alexander Smith
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