Siemens sale puts Atlantia in high-tech fast lane

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Motor vehicles are seen on the M25 motorway in St Albans, Britain, May 28, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

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MILAN, Jan 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Siemens (SIEGn.DE) is giving Atlantia (ATL.MI) a timely digital ride. The $16 billion toll road group controlled by Italy’s Benetton family agreed on Monday to pay 950 million euros for the $138 billion German conglomerate’s Yunex Traffic management system, its first acquisition since ending a bitter dispute with Rome over Italy’s motorways. Siemens’ “smart city” drive relates mainly to rail not road, making Yunex something of a sideline.

Atlantia is also paying a generous 17.6 times forecast 2021 EBITDA, a slight premium to the sales last year of rivals TransCore and Cubic. For Atlantia boss Carlo Bertazzo, it’s the perfect moment to pounce on Yunex’s congestion-easing expertise. More than 400 European cities are introducing mobility projects that could be worth 20 billion euros over the next decade. If Yunex grabs a 10% slice, roughly in line with its market share, it would add 2 billion euros of revenue, a 30% annual boost to its current 635 million euro top line. Bertazzo is shifting Atlantia into a higher gear. (By Lisa Jucca)

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