A race against time, uphill. Made more complicated by a new rift between the majority parties. This is how the road leading to next October 27th appears, day of the new deadline set by Atlantia for the submission of a binding offer for the acquisition of 88% of Motorways for Italy. On Wednesday, the contacts between Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and funds Blackstone e Macquarie who should support her in the consortium. The numbers mark the distance between the parties: the price range indicated by Cdp is included between 8.5 and 9.5 billion while the valuation of the market and foreign funds stands at 11-12 billion. On evaluation weighs the new Economic and financial plan which was given the go-ahead by the Minister of Transport dem Paola De Micheli.
The knot is also political: “The Benetton holding company cannot and must not draw any further undue advantages from the negotiations to build the new structure of Autostrade per l’Italia, a negotiation whose outcome cannot exist shadow of any kind ”, the deputies of 5 Star Movement in the Environment, Public Works and Territory Committee. “Minister De Micheli will have to clarify in Parliament the details of the process that led her to give her ok to the Plan, apparently affecting the sale price. The decades of dividends high in the face of insufficient investments and almost non-existent maintenance they have already cost too much to Italian families. Minister De Micheli cannot get away with one shrug: never as in this case the transparency it is a value indispensable“.
Hence the unknowns weighing on the last mile of the negotiation and on the possibility of reaching a positive solution. Time does not play in favor. And this is the message arrived from sources close to Macquarie: the deadlines for a binding offer are too tight and do not allow the necessary in-depth analysis and a correct evaluation of all the elements. No comment from Blackstone instead.
If the consortium’s offer does not arrive by the 27th, on the 30th the assembly could give the green light to the demerger project which, as Cdp underlined, “underlies an operation different from the one envisaged”. However, as indicated by the board of directors in the explanatory report to the shareholders, there is another option in the field: “If at any time antecedent on the effective date of the demerger, and therefore also in a moment following the approval of the demerger plan by the shareholders ‘meeting, Atlantia receives an offer to purchase the shareholding, the board of directors of Atlantia, if it considers that the offer corresponds to the company’s interest, will call the shareholders’ meeting again to submit the revocation to the same of the demerger resolution already taken “.
But something is also moving on the national scene. There is on the field Toto Holding, which presented an expression of interest for Aspi together with the group Apollo. And now, through sources close to the group, he relies on the fact that it would be “crucial” to leave the management and ownership of a “fundamental asset such as a motorway infrastructure within national borders”. The investment projects linked to the purchase of Aspi could “exceed 14 billion”.