Benetton-led Atlantia and the Italian government have launched a new attempt to break a stalemate over the group’s motorway concession, but a solution to the long-running dispute remains elusive, three sources said on Wednesday.
Rome has threatened to strip the company of its valuable concession following the deadly 2018 collapse of a bridge in Genoa that was run by Atlantia’s Autostrade per l’Italia unit.
After an urgent meeting on the issue between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and two ministers on Tuesday night, several Italian newspapers reported on Wednesday that an agreement was at hand.
But sources with knowledge of the matter poured cold water on the possibility of a breakthrough in the next few hours that would allow Atlantia to keep its licence until 2038.
Autostrade has not received any information so far from the ruling coalition regarding a potential deal, a source close to company said, adding that it would be ready to review a “reasonable” government proposal.
A government source told Reuters there were still hurdles to overcome.
“The sticking points are always the same, you have to keep negotiating,” the source said, adding that the ruling 5-Star Movement was irked by the fact that none of its officials were involved in Tuesday’s meeting.
A third source said negotiations could drag on into July.
The two sides disagreed on several regulatory issues and Rome was still pressing for Atlantia to cut its 88% stake in Autostrade below 50%, the sources said. The valuation of Autostrade is also an thorny issue.