Angel Gomez FuentesSEGUIRRoma Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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After a soap opera that has lasted almost two years, Italy puts an end to a battle over “Autostrade per l’italia” (ASPI), whose background more than economic has been political. After 20 years of control, the family Benetton will end up, in the time span of about a year, out of the management of Autostrade per l’italia and the other companies that form part of the group Atlantia (under your control is the 88% of Aspi), a partner of ACS in Abertis, which manages 3.257 kilometers of motorways in Italy, on a total of 5.866, i.e., 55.3 %. In a decision of the council of ministers, which ended at dawn, at 5:16, the Government of Conte withdraw the concession Benetton and Austostrade per l’italia, will be a public company, controlled by the State.

The Benetton could continue to keep a very minority, but in practice his power would be almost zero, and marginal in the long period. The state-owned cassa depositi e prestiti, which is controlled by the ministry of Economy and finance who manages the savings of a good part of the italians, you will have the majority of the company’s capital ASPI (51%), which will be public and listed on the Stock exchange, of which he had come out in 2003.

Atlantia, that in the negotiations with the government was not willing to reduce beyond 34%, their percentage in the share capital of Autostrade, has ended by offering his availability to give your full participation (88%) to institutional investors that are to your liking. You also agree to pay a compensation of 3,400 million euros for the disaster of the bridge Morandi and a reduction of tariffs in the highways.

Conte: “Outside the Benetton”

The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, he advanced on Monday to the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, next to the Movement 5 Stars, that the granting of “Austostrade per l’italia” would be “revoked”: “The Benetton take us the hair. The State can not be a partner who takes the hair to the families of the victims.” Conte was referring to the 43 people who died on the 14th of August 2018, after the collapse of the bridge Morandi of Genoa, managed by Atlantia , valued at about 10,000 million euros, the group that the family Benetton controlled at 30%.

In Italy it is not remember that a prime minister had made a statement as strong against one of the more powerful groups in the country, as the family Benetton. Since the catastrophe of the bridge Morandi, began a hard battle, with a great political background, with the threat by government to revoke the concession granted to Autostrade per l’italia. The Movement 5 Stars (M5E) made this battle a mark of their identity. Propaganda played a key role. The country was shocked by the death of 43 people in the collapse of the bridge of Genoa. The grillinos blamed Atlantia and the family Benetton have neglected the maintenance and worry especially for the economic benefits.

Battle between populism and realism

For almost two years, the struggle arose between realism and populism. For the M5E there was only one way out: the revocation. This would have meant the bankruptcy of the society, the unemployment for its 7,000 workers, what worried a lot of the unions, and compensation for the part of the State: the Government offered 7,000 million and Atlantia demanded 23,000 million . The threat of revocation was already causing noticeable financial harm, to Atlantia and other private companies involved in the management: plummeting on the Stock exchange and economic losses with the degradation of the bonds issued by Autostrade to fund, among other projects, the reconstruction of the bridge Morandi of Genoa, already completed and which will be officially opened in early August.

In summary, revoke the concession granted to Autostrade would have meant in the short term a bankruptcy, which would have had an estimated cost of more than 19,000 million euros, which would have weighed like a stone on all of the Italian system and in its external image. And , in the long term, after a complicated and difficult process, it probably would have forced the State to pay compensation surely next to the 23 billion required Autostrade.

avoids the revocation, and a long court battle

in The end it has imposed on the realism and come to a compromise solution. There has been No revocation, and it has avoided a long and hard legal battle, as well as a likely greater political instability in these moments as dramatic that the country lives by the fault of the coronavirus. Various political leaders, including the head of State Sergio Mattarella, although this has not been made public, intervened to prevent the economic and social catastrophe that would have meant the revocation of the concession. The final compromise is that the Benetton yield to the conditions imposed by the government Conte, waiving future legal battles . Conte comes out reinforced and the Movement 5 Stars sings victoria: “Bye Bye, Benetton. It is a historic day for the italians,” they “grillinos” in a tweet. The bag rewards this principle of agreement: Atlantia rises to 24%.