Atlantia, the Autostrade era comes to an end: sold to Cassa Depositi for 8.1 billion

A formal passage that sanctions the closure of a chapter that opened on 14 August 2018 with the tragedy of the Morandi Bridge. And that after 22 years brings the old Autostrade back into public hands, moreover at values ​​similar to those to which it had been privatized. Atlantia, the infrastructure holding owned by the Benetton family, has in fact announced that “the closing of the sale of the stake held in Autostrade per l’Italia (equal to 88.06% of the capital and of the voting rights ) in favor of the Consortium formed by Cdp Equity (51%), Blackstone Infrastructure Partners (24.5%) and Macquarie Asset Management (24.5%). The sale of the shareholding took place for an equivalent value of 8,198.8 million euro including the ticking fee and net of minor other price adjustments also provided for in the sale agreement “. All this took place about a year after the first formal go-ahead for the sale: on May 31, 2021, the shareholders of Atlantia had given their consent to the enhancement. Then formalized on 11 June with the Spa agreement (Sale and purchase agreeement) between the company and Cassa.

Autostrade per l’Italia, privatized in 2000 with a total income for the State of approximately 8 billion, is therefore back in public hands. It does so with an already written strategic plan that is worth 14.5 billion in investments and 7 billion in maintenance interventions between now and 2038. At the helm, as mentioned, there will be Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Macquarie and Blackstone funds.

The latter is the same one who will now join the Benettons in the other key game that began with the closing of the Autostrade affair, namely theTakeover bid on Atlantia. In this regard, a board of directors of the holding company on quarterly data is scheduled for Friday 6 May, but it is also called to start the procedure for selecting the advisors who will have to support the board in evaluating the adequacy of the offer. The meeting will in fact serve to continue the work just sketched by the previous council. Last week, Friday 29 April, the shareholders’ meeting elected the new members of the board of directors, with Carlo Bertazzo confirmed as CEO and Giampiero Massolo elected president. Components who are now called upon to give a fundamental opinion for what could be a crucial turning point for the holding: that is, the farewell to the stock market and the strategic repositioning in view of a possible return to the Stock Exchange in five years.

Edition and Blackstone, with the support of the CrTorino Foundation, have put 12.7 billion on the plate to conquer Atlantia. In particular, they will promote a full offer on the holding at a price of 23 euros per share, a value which rises to 23.74 euros by adding the dividend of 0.74 euros already approved. The price incorporates a premium of 28.4% compared to the value of the shares as of April 5th (last trading day before rumors about a potential extraordinary transaction on Atlantia). To promote the takeover bid, the Benettons and the fund have set up a newco, Schemaquarantatrè, which is wholly owned by another vehicle, named Schemaquarantadue, which will represent the reference holding of the new group. The latter part with 65% control of Edizione (through Sintonia) and is 35% owned by Blackstone. However, the structure will change with the entry of the CrT Foundation which will deliver its 4.54% to the offer and then reinvest up to 3%.

As for the numbers, as mentioned above, in the event of total membership the consortium will pay 12.7 billion against an overall valuation of the asset of just under 19 billion. The vehicle will make use of the debt for 8.2 billion while the remaining 11 billion will be financed by Blackstone for 4.4 billion and for the remainder by Ponzano Veneto with the transfer of the 33.1% package held in Atlantia to the newco. Meanwhile, with the resources available, also deriving from the sale of Aspi (8 billion euro more or less equal to the debt contracted by the vehicle to launch the offer), Atlantia will promote the strategic plan already approved. On 15 June 2021, the company presented its development guidelines, based on new investments in the motorway, airport and digital services for mobility sectors.

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Atlantia, the Autostrade era comes to an end: sold to Cassa Depositi for 8.1 billion


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