Atlantia Plans to Invest Part of Autostrade's Windfall in Buybacks
By Pietro Lombardi
Atlantia SpA wants to use a good chunk of the cash pile coming
from the sale of its entire stake in toll-road operator Autostrade
per L'Italia to boost shareholder remuneration via dividends and
buybacks, and the market welcomed the plan.
The Italian infrastructure operator said Tuesday that, once the
disposal is completed, it will have around 8 billion euros ($9.70
billion) in cash to reinvest. Up to a quarter could end up in
shareholders' pockets through a buyback the company is considering,
which should be between EUR1 billion and EUR2 billion. The group
will also propose a new dividend policy at the April 2022
sharehodlers' meeting. The policy, which covers the years 2021
through 2023, should include a distribution of around EUR600
million in the first year, with annual increases of between 3% and
Atlantia shares got a boost from the plan, gaining 4.8% in late
morning European trade.
The new Atlantia that will emerge from the sale of Autostrade
per L'Italia is "a strategic investment holding company focusing on
transport infrastructure and the global macrotrends that are
transforming the way we move around," Chief Executive Carlo
Bertazzo said. New technologies, digital solutions and
sustainability will be key elements in its business, he added.
Part of the proceeds from the sale will be invested in
developing its portfolio of existing assets, with an eye to
potential opportunities in motorway and airport concessions,
payment systems and mobility services. The funds will also go
toward new areas of investment in transport and mobility
infrastructure, as well as the creation of a venture capital
The sale of its 88% stake in Autostrade per L'Italia marks a
significant step for Atlantia, which has been involved in a tussle
with the Italian government over the unit since the collapse of a
bridge in Genoa killed 43 people in 2018. The bridge was managed by
Autostrade per L'Italia.
Last week, Atlantia accepted an offer from a consortium led by
Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Write to Pietro Lombardi at email@example.com;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 15, 2021 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT)
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