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Atlantia shares fall after CDP-led offer for motorway assets

MILAN, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Shares in Italian infrastructure group Atlantia fell more than 4% on Tuesday on concerns that an offer by state lender CDP and others for its motorway unit may not be enough to settle a long-running dispute with Rome.

Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and investment funds Macquarie and Blackstone late on Monday presented a proposal to buy Atlantia’s 88% stake in motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia.

The proposal did not include any valuation for Autostrade, two sources close to the matter have told Reuters, a detail that could jeopardise negotiations between the state lender and Atlantia.

“It is possible that this aspect is creating some uncertainty and pushes investors to sell,” a trader said.

Several papers said the offer by the CDP-led consortium for 88% of Autostrade could be worth around 9 billion euros ($10.59 billion) before applying a discount to take into account both risks of future damage claims and possible changes in the company’s economic plan.

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

Atlantia shares were down 2.3% by 0757 GMT, underperforming Milan’s FTSE MIB blue-chip index, which was flat.

Atlantia’s board will review the proposal at 0900 GMT on Tuesday, sources have said. It will also discuss whether to postpone an Oct. 30 shareholder meeting to vote on an alternative plan to sell its stake in Autostrade.

The CDP-led consortium, which can be broadened to other Italian investors, aims to sign a memorandum of understanding with Atlantia by Oct. 28, CDP said in a statement.

A final offer for Autostrade will be submitted after a 10-week due diligence, the state lender said.

According to sources, the CDP-led plan envisages CDP having 40% of the consortium, while Macquarie and Blackstone each would have 30%. CDP could then sell on part of its stake in the motorway business to Italian investors at a later stage.

CDP would also appoint the consortium’s CEO and chairman, the people said. ($1 = 0.8495 euros) (Reporting by Giancarlo Navach, Elvira Pollina, Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes, writing by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Susan Fenton)

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