November 13, 2019 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

Italy's Salini looking to wrap up Astaldi deal in first half of 2020

MILAN, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Salini Impregilo expects to wrap up the acquisition of smaller building rival Astaldi early next year as it pushes ahead with plans to create a domestic construction champion, the group’s general manager said on Wednesday.

“We are also looking round for contracts and assets of other smaller Italian rivals to include in the project,” Massimo Ferrari told Reuters.

Italy’s biggest construction company has made itself the cornerstone of a state-backed plan dubbed ‘Project Italy’ to revive the country’s ailing construction industry by aggregating other players.

The acquisition of Astaldi, currently under a Chapter 11-like credit protection scheme, is a key part of the project.

Two of Astaldi’s court-appointed commissioners, along with others, are being probed for alleged corruption, according to a prosecutor’s document seen by Reuters.

However Ferrari said he did not believe the investigation would hamper the deal. “I don’t think the legal probe will slow down the process and we expect to close the deal in the first half of 2020,” he said.

Astaldi issued a statement on Tuesday saying it had learned about the investigation from press reports and was continuing its work. ($1 = 0.9074 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes)

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