MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Atlantia ATL.MI said it had delayed a shareholder vote on the spin-off of its domestic motorway business to extend talks to sell it to a consortium led by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).
In a statement confirming what sources had told Reuters earlier on Wednesday, the infrastructure group said a revised offer it received this week from the CDP-led consortium for its 88% stake in the Autostrade per l’Italia motorway unit was still inadequate.
Atlantia said it would extend discussions with CDP and co-investors Macquarie and Blackstone BX.N with a view to receiving a new binding proposal by Nov. 30.
The negotiations are part of a long-standing wrangle over Autostrade after a bridge it ran collapsed in 2018, killing 43 people.
The government has repeatedly threatened to strip the motorway business of its operating licence, while Atlantia has sought to defend a main asset.
In its latest proposal, CDP said the purchase of Atlantia’s stake in Autostrade would be carried out in stages and that it would update Atlantia on the asset’s valuation four weeks after the start of due diligence.
The state lender has valued the whole of Autostrade at 8.5 billion - 9.5 billion euros ($10-$11 billion), sources told Reuters.
“The board has decided to continue talks with CDP and its co-investors with a view to enabling them to produce a satisfactory, binding offer by no later than Nov. 30,” Atlantia said in a statement.
Atlantia said a shareholder vote initially slated for Friday on plans to spin-off Autostrade and sell it to investors was being delayed to held at the latest by Jan. 15.
The move buys time to resolve the uncertainty over a new toll system which Autostrade is discussing with the transport ministry. The two parties are nearing an agreement, two sources said.
Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, Francesca Landini, Stephen Jewkes; editing by Valentina Za and Grant McCool
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