Italian CDP, Macquarie, Blackstone presented a proposal to buy the Atlantia unit | Instant News


MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s CDP and investment funds Macquarie and Blackstone have submitted proposals to buy Atlantia’s. ATL.MI 88% stake in highway unit Autostrade per l’Italia, Italy’s state lender said late Monday.

FILE PHOTOS: View of the Autostrade per l’Italia headquarters in Rome, Italy, July 21, 2020. REUTERS / Yara Nardi / Photo Files

The consortium, which could be extended to other Italian investors, aims to sign a memorandum of understanding with Atlantia on October 28, the CDP said in a statement.

The final bid for Autostrade will be submitted after 10 weeks of due diligence, the state lender said without providing other details about the plan.

The Atlantia Council will review proposals on Tuesday, sources said earlier on Monday.

Two sources close to the matter told Reuters that the proposal submitted by the CDP-led consortium did not include any assessment for Autostrade, a detail that could jeopardize negotiations between the state lender and Atlantia.

The Atlantia infrastructure group will need to secure offers it deems attractive in the short term or will have to step back from its previous plans for ownership of Autostrade.

The group has a shareholder meeting scheduled for October 30 and will go ahead with the vote to abandon Autostrade and sell it to institutional investors unless CDP makes an attractive offer in time, two sources said.

In its proposal, the CDP asked Atlantia to postpone the group’s shareholders meeting on October 30 to allow more time for negotiations, the state lender said.

Atlantia has been involved in a legal dispute with Rome since 2018, when a bridge run by Autostrade collapsed and killed 43 people. The government has threatened to revoke the toll road permit.

A deal loomed close in July when Rome agreed on a plan under which Atlantia would hand over control of the Autostrade to the CDP. But the talks failed, prompting the group to go ahead with the demerger plan.

Last week, the CDP and Atlantia started exclusive talks to try to break the deadlock.

Another issue complicating the conversation is the ongoing rift between Autostrade and transport supervisor ART over the company’s economic and financial plans, which could affect the company’s future profitability.

On Monday, activist investor TCI Fund Management, which criticized the Italian government’s handling of the dispute with Atlantia, said it had increased its stake in Atlantia to more than 10%.

Additional reporting by Giuseppe Fonte. Edited by Jane Merriman and Marguerita Choy

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