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Italy's Benettons open to cutting stake in GIC-backed Atlantia or its motorway unit

[MILAN] Italy's Benetton family is open to cutting its stake in infrastructure group Atlantia as a way to loosen its grip on motorway unit Autostrade, the head of the Benettons' holding company Edizione said on Thursday.

Singapore sovereign fund GIC and Italian banking foundation CRT are among investors in Atlantia, which has currently a market value of 12.4 billion euros (S$19.44 billion). 

The Benetton family, which controls Atlantia through Edizione, has been locked in a dispute with the Italian government over Autostrade's motorway concession after a bridge it operated collapsed in August 2018, killing 43 people.

After the disaster the government has threatened to strip Autostrade of its concession and some members of the ruling coalition have called for the Benettons to reduce their sway on the motorway unit as one of the conditions to avoid the revocation.

"Edizione and its shareholders... have always been open to diluting themselves if credible partners come along with plans for development. This is true for both Autostrade and Atlantia," Edizione chairman Gianni Mion said in a comment emailed by an Edizione spokesman.

Until now informal talks to end the standoff with the government have focused on the possibility that Atlantia cuts its stake in Autostrade to make room for state-backed investors, but no compromise solution has emerged so far.


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