August 21, 2018 / 5:48 PM / a month ago

Italy's state lender could take control of Autostrade: sources

ROME (Reuters) - Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) may buy a controlling stake in Autostrade per l’Italia after the collapse last week of a bridge managed by the motorway operator, two sources told Reuters, but the economy ministry denied knowledge of any such proposal.

Some members of the anti-establishment government have suggested that the motorway network should be nationalized after the disaster that killed 43 people.

The possibility of the state taking a controlling stake in Autostrade through CDP “is one of the options being discussed”, a source close to the matter said.

FILE PHOTO - Toll-road operator Autostrade per l'Italia's headquarters are seen in Rome, Italy August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

A ministerial source close to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed the possibility was being considered by the ruling coalition, adding that he personally viewed it as “not a bad idea”.

However, the economy ministry, which owns more than 80 percent of CDP, has no knowledge of any such idea, an official at the ministry said when asked for a comment.

Official government spokesmen and spokeswomen did not respond to a request for a comment. It was not immediately possible to contact CDP.

Edizione, the holding company of the Benetton family, which ultimately controls Autostrade through Atlantia (ATL.MI), had no comment.

Reporting by Gavin Jones, Paola Arosio and Stefano Bernabei; Editing by Valentina Za and David Goodman

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