CDP to set out stages for Atlantia motorway unit final offer - sources

MILAN, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Italy’s state lender CDP will set out the stages for a final offer to buy Atlantia’s motorway business when its board meets later on Tuesday, sources close to the matter said.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti presented a proposal last week to buy Atlantia’s 88% stake in Autostrade per l’Italia unit that was deemed inadequate by the infrastructure group.

Atlantia replied by granting the state lender and its fund partners, Macquarie and Blackstone, until Oct. 27 to come up with something better.

Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, is expecting a binding offer from CDP ahead of its own board meeting on Wednesday.

“CDP will present a road map laying out when commitments will be made on different parts of the offer,” one source said.

The sources said any final offer from the CDP consortium was premature since issues such as due diligence on Autostrade assets, the unit’s new tariff outlook, an assessment of potential future damage claims and guarantees on Autostrade’s debt were still outstanding.

“They are looking for a way to make the offer more palatable while taking time to complete crucial choices,” a source said.

It was not clear if the consortium would change the preliminary valuation range they set for the 100% of Autostrade last week of 8.5-9.5 billion euros.

Atlantia has been in a legal dispute with Rome since 2018, when a bridge run by Autostrade collapsed killing 43 people. The government has threatened to strip it of its motorway licence.

“If a good CDP offer comes along, Atlantia can either scratch the demerger item from this week’s EGM or postpone the meeting,” a source said.

The group has a shareholder meeting scheduled for Oct. 30 and will press ahead with a vote to spin off Autostrade and sell it to institutional investors unless CDP delivers an attractive offer in time, two sources had said. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, Giuseppe Fonte, Francesca Landini; editing by David Evans)