|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||8.29 - 8.42|
|52 Week Range||5.04 - 13.66|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.27|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||10.68|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||May 20, 2019|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The tension between Rome and the market has gone up another level.A proposed settlement between the Italian government and the operator of the collapsed Morandi bridge, Autostrade per I’Italia SpA, is faltering. Autostrade’s majority owner, Milan-listed Atlantia SpA, is taking a tough line defending its shareholders when it comes to the details of the agreement.Meanwhile, Rome is becoming increasingly interventionist. In a separate matter on Tuesday, it sought to delay Telecom Italia SpA’s planned sale of assets to buyout firm KKR & Co.Combined, the developments suggest a decisive agreement to end the dispute over the 2018 Genoa tragedy remains highly challenging. Altantia shares were briefly halted on Wednesday in response to the fresh deterioration in relations.In the wake of the disaster, which claimed 43 lives, Italy moved quickly to impose heavy penalties on Autostrade. The fact that Atlantia’s lead shareholder is the deep-pocketed Benetton family energized the political assault. However, the official investigation into the bridge collapse has yet to conclude, and Autostrade has rejected allegations that it breached its maintenance commitments.Seeking to settle, Autostrade offered 3.4 billion euros ($4 billion) of compensation, reconstruction funds, toll cuts and additional maintenance spending. Some of the expenses are spread over time and may be tax deductible. Even allowing for that, the proposal looks to be worth at least 10% of Autostrade’s equity value – consistent with penalties laid out in its highways concession agreement (save for other damages). The unit’s valuation was estimated at 14 billion euros before the disaster and the Covid-19 pandemic.But this isn’t enough for the Italian government. It was wants to take control of Autostrade and has threatened to revoke its highways concession if the company doesn’t comply, changing the law to reduce the cancellation payment due.At issue is the price at which nationalization would occur. Rome proposes Autostrade sell a stake in itself to Italy’s postal savings bank, diluting Atlantia into a non-controlling position. If this happened cheaply, say via a discounted initial public offering, existing shareholders would lose out.In response, Atlantia says the price should be set by Autostrade’s “market value.” It’s proposing two options, both of which entail the state acting like any other investor. One would be a straightforward auction of its 88% holding to any potential acquirers. The other plan envisages listing the business. Then the state could bid in the market.The proposals echo those of Atlantia investor TCI Fund Management Ltd. To pressure the government into agreeing, the hedge fund has made a formal complaint to the European Commission, arguing that Rome has breached European laws by preempting the formal investigation and by coercing the nationalization.Clearly, it would be wrong to determine the outcome of the awful events of two years ago solely with reference to contractual claims and market forces. The question is what is the right thing to do to ensure that the families of the victims and others affected are well compensated, that suitable penalties are levied and that necessary works are carried out to prevent another tragedy.Atlantia’s proposal does, at first glance, risk being inappropriately generous to its own shareholders. It envisages them being cashed out of Autostrade at a premium in a bidding contest. That feels like an uncomfortable and insensitive conclusion here.But whether that is really the case depends largely on the penalties imposed on Autostrade before it is sold — not just the current settlement proposal, but also various other changes being made to its highways concession. A market-consistent nationalization could still be at a low valuation. Perhaps the real problem from a political perspective is that any direct sale of Atlantia’s holding means paying cash directly to the Benettons.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Italy's Atlantia <ATL.MI> said on Tuesday it had encountered "concrete difficulties" in talks with state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) over CDP's planned investment in its Autostrade per l'Italia and was studying alternative options. The infrastructure group is now considering the sale of its entire 88% stake in Autostrade through a competitive auction or to spin-off the motorway unit into a separate vehicle to be listed on the stock exchange, it said in a statement. Since the collapse of a motorway bridge run by Autostrade in 2018, which claimed 43 lives, Atlantia and the government have been wrangling over Autostrade's operating concession.
(Bloomberg) -- A key investor of Atlantia SpA opposes a revised deal proposal that would see Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA buy a controlling stake in Autostrade per l’Italia SpA in an initial public offering.The proposal, aimed at ending Atlantia’s long-running dispute with the government by spinning off its toll-road business, would ensure that state-backed lender CDP and other new buyers acquire their stake at market value, responding to investors’ concern over the pricing of the assets. News of the potential deal pushed Atlantia’s shares up as much as 5% on Monday and will now be reviewed by the holding company’s board.Under the revised deal, CDP would directly acquire a 33% share of Autostrade in a capital increase. Partners identified by CDP would buy another 22% at the same time of an IPO that would tender a further 39% of the company, according to people familiar with the proposal. With that mechanism, the price would be decided by investors in the listing process and not earlier by advisers, the people said.Still, TCI Fund Management Ltd., which owns more than 5% of Atlantia through a direct stake and swap contracts, poured cold water on the plan.“TCI strongly opposes any capital increase, or IPO at a discounted price,” TCI’s billionaire activist investor Christopher Hohn told Bloomberg on Sunday. TCI values Autostrade at about 11 billion euros to 12 billion euros ($12.9 billion to $14 billion) before any transaction.The deal in its current form raises the risk of legal action by third party investors who would be penalized, according to a note by Fidentiis Equities SV SA.“The only way to ensure an entry of CDP in Autostrade that is fair for Atlantia and international investors, is a straight sale of Atlantia’s 88% stake in the unit through a competitive process led by reputable international intermediaries, or a spinoff at fair market price, with the Benetton’s stake being offered simultaneously to investors, including CDP,” TCI’s Jonathan Amouyal said.TCI wrote two letters to the Italian government earlier this month claiming that the nationalization of the toll-road manager is a “de facto illegitimate expropriation” of investors’ stakes. Atlantia wasn’t immediately available to comment. A representative for CDP declined to comment.License DisputePrime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government and the Benetton family earlier this month agreed to settle a dispute on Autostrade’s highway licenses stemming from a deadly 2018 bridge disaster. Benetton-controlled Atlantia was forced by the Italian government to choose between a revocation of the toll-road concession and a sale of its stake in Autostrade.The price for Autostrade is a key to the plan and disagreement over the company’s valuation risks delaying its nationalization at a time when the rebuilt bridge in Genoa is about to be inaugurated. Atlantia and CDP have disagreed over the price, making it likely there will be a delay in signing a preliminary agreement that was expected on July 27, people familiar with the matter said last week.The government is keen to ensure investors see the operation as market friendly, an official said earlier this month. The person asked not to be named because the talks are confidential. The new plan for CDP’s intervention was first reported by Ansa.(Retops with TCI reaction)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.