Atlantia sells €1.48bn of Autostrade stakes to investors

A consortium led by Allianz and China’s Silk Road Fund each bought 5% of the Italian roads subsidiary Autostrade per l’Italia, with more stake sales under consideration.

Italian toll road operator Atlantia has sold 10 percent of its local concessionaire Autostrade per l’Italia in separate deals to an Allianz-led consortium and China’s Silk Road Fund.

Both parties each took a 5 percent stake in the company, in deals which valued Autostrade per l’Italia at a total equity consideration of €1.48 billion and generated a €738 million gain for parent Atlantia, the latter said in a statement. Autostrade per l’Italia manages a 3,020km toll road network in Italy, about 50 percent of the country’s entire system.

Allianz Group controls 74 percent of the newly-formed consortium, with a further 20 percent held by EDF Invest and 6 percent by DIF Infrastructure IV. The group also has an option until the end of October to purchase a further 2.5 percent share and Atlantia chief executive Giovanni Castellucci said he hopes to extend the new partnership to other projects of “mutual interest”.

The deal to sell 5 percent to the Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund – in what is the $40 billion vehicle’s first confirmed investment in European infrastructure – does not include further call options. The vehicle has also previously explored investments in the German energy-from-waste sector as well as Serbia’s renewable energy industry. The fund was set up in 2014 to connect major Eurasian economies through infrastructure, trade and investment.

Atlantia added that it is in talks with other potential investors regarding further stake sales, although it had not confirmed at press time how much it is looking to offload. The company said it had received offers from “a number of institutional investors” for Autostrade before agreeing the deals with Allianz and the Silk Road Fund. Atlantia is keen to attract further shareholders as it continues work on the widening of 1,100km of its network, a €25 billion investment programme for which €11 billion has already been spent.

Castellucci added that the sale will enable the company to finance its international expansion plans, which includes a possible merger deal with Spanish counterpart Abertis. Atlantia released a short statement yesterday confirming that discussions were ongoing as it seeks public offer deal for shares of Abertis.