UPDATE 1-Atlantia sees no reason to change dividend policy

Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:27am EDT

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MILAN, March 11 (Reuters) - The head of Italy's largest highway group Atlantia sees no reason right now to change its dividend policy following a deal to buy airport holding Gemina.

"For the time being I do not see any reason to change the dividend policy. It's something we will address after the shareholders meetings and a first decision will be taken with the interim dividend in November," Giovanni Castellucci told a conference call with analysts on Monday.

Atlantia paid a dividend of 0.746 euros per share in 2011. It also paid an interim dividend.

The company agreed on Friday to buy Gemina in an all-share deal to create one of the biggest European motorway and airport groups with businesses in Italy and Latin America.

Gemina controls Rome airport operator ADR, which has started rolling out an ambitious investment plan following the approval last year of a new tariff scheme that ended years of regulatory uncertainty for Italy's largest airport hub.

ADR plans to invest more than 12 billion euros by 2044 with a view to handling 100 million passengers by that date, up by an average of 2.7 percent per year from 2012.

In the conference call, Castellucci said the new group would keep investing about 100-200 million euros per year outside Italy and that it was eyeing bids for Brazilian airports in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro.

He said the main reason behind the acquisition of Gemina was that the Rome airport hub of Fiumicino would grow strongly in the medium to long term, thanks to its global exposure.

"We do not plan an escalation in investments to grow outside Italy," he said. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Mark Potter)

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