Sources says Giuseppe Conte meeting with allies fails to break Atlantia deadlock

Sources says Giuseppe Conte meeting with allies fails to break Atlantia deadlock

Sources says meeting between Italy’s Prime Minister and coalition allies to try settle a row over Atlantia motorway business yielded no progress.

Fresh talks on the matter are expected soon, the two people added, without giving a precise date.

Italian Prime Minister is expected to comment on the matter after markets close on Wednesday, one of the sources said.

The ruling, anti-establishment 5-Star Movement pledged to strip Autostrade per l’Italia of its lucrative concession to run motorways after the deadly collapse of a bridge it operated.

The centre-left PD party, which governs with 5-Star, has been reluctant to deprive Autostrade of its concession, fearing it could lead to a large compensation claim against the state.

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A resolution to the issue could clear the way for a 1.25 billion-euro ($1.37 billion) state-guaranteed loan which Autostrade has applied for to weather the coronavirus crisis.

The request for help during the virus pandemic triggered criticism last week from 5-Star members who are against the state guaranteeing funding to Atlantia, led by the Benetton family.

5-star wants either a revocation of the concession or Atlantia to reduce its 88% stake in Autostrade so that the Benetton family loses control of the motorway operator, a party source said.

The government would back an acquisition of a relevant stake in Autostrade by infrastructure fund F2i and state lender CDP, the government sources said.

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However, a third source close to the matter said that CDP was unwilling to take a stake in Autostrade before the dispute with the government was settled.

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