November 8, 2018 / 5:21 PM / in 7 days

Bridge collapse costs Genoa companies 422 million euros in damages - Chamber of Commerce

FILE PHOTO: Firefighters and rescue workers stand at the site of the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - The collapse of a bridge in Genoa, which claimed 43 lives, has cost companies in the Italian city around 422 million euros ($482 million) in damages, the Genoa Chamber of Commerce said.

The chamber’s estimate was based on a survey of hundreds of companies affected after the bridge operated by a unit of Italy’s Atlantia collapsed on Aug. 14.

The survey was aimed at helping firms claim relief from state disaster-aid funds, but could also be the base for future lawsuits against whoever is found responsible for the collapse.

Damages to properties, buildings, machinery and stocks were estimated at 63 million euros, while higher costs and lower profits reported by some companies due to the collapse amounted to a combined 359 million euros, the Chamber of Commerce said.

The government has blamed Atlantia’s unit Autostrade per l’Italia, which operated the bridge, for the disaster. The company and its top managers are under judicial investigation, along with transport ministry officials, for culpable homicide.

Autostrade has denied any wrongdoing, saying regular, state-supervised inspections had indicated the ageing bridge was safe.

The transport ministry has also said it had no responsibility.

Italian freight forwarders, who say their business has been hurt by the bridge collapse, told Reuters they were taking legal advice and considering whether to sue toll-road operator Atlantia if the group is found responsible.

($1 = 0.8754 euros)

Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Francesca Landini; Editing by Susan Fenton

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