Autostrade risks losing its motorways

THE BENETTON family became one of the biggest stars of Italian business by building a global fashion brand best known for colourful knitwear and a feisty social conscience, promoted with bold adverts featuring dying AIDS patients and death-row inmates. From humble origins with a second-hand knitting machine in the 1960s, the four Benetton siblings, Luciano, Carlo, Gilberto and Giuliana, diversified the business in an unlikely direction. Fashion now accounts for only a small chunk of their multi-billion-euro fortune. Motorways and roadside grub earn the bulk of their earnings these days, thanks to a large shareholding in Atlantia, whose subsidiary runs toll roads and bridges, and control of Autogrill, respectively.

It is a route that has tarnished the Benettons’ starry image. The tragic collapse of the Morandi bridge killed 43 people in August 2018. The structure in Genoa was managed by Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI), Atlantia’s road-and-bridge unit. Ever since, politicians have threatened to revoke ASPI’s motorway concession, which generates a third of Atlantia’s profits. The threat became concrete when Giuseppe Conte’s government passed a decree on December 31st which allows it to take away ASPI’s concession (set to expire in 2038) at any time and pay it much lower compensation. Parliament is likely to vote on the decree this month...

via Business Feeds

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