Italy’s Atlantia improves forecast as motorway traffic generates profits

The logo of Italian infrastructure group Atlantia can be seen outside its headquarters in Rome, Italy on October 5, 2020. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane / File Photo

MILAN, Nov.11 (Reuters) – Italian infrastructure group Atlantia (ATL.MI) on Thursday raised its forecast for 2021 after announcing a 27% increase in its basic profit in the first nine months by excluding its activities of national highways that he agreed to sell.

The group controlled by the Benetton family has said it expects revenue of 6 billion euros ($ 6.9 billion) in 2021, higher than a previous forecast of 5.7 billion euros following a post-COVID rebound in motorway traffic.

Working capital (FFO) is expected to reach 2.4 billion euros in 2021, against a previous forecast of 2.1 billion euros.

Atlantia said profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 2.9 billion euros in the first nine months, net of the contribution from Autostrade per l’Italia, its national motorway network that the group sells after a bridge collapsed in 2018.

Full-year traffic on the motorways managed by the group in France, Spain and abroad is expected to be 5% lower than in 2019, Atlantia said. In August, the group said it expected 2021 traffic to be 8% lower than in 2019.

Airport activity is recovering more slowly, Atlantia said, confirming its expectations for annual air traffic 70% lower than 2019 volumes.

The increase in highway revenues, as well as the decrease in depreciation and provisions related to the bridge disaster enabled Atlantia to achieve a net profit of 613 million euros in the first nine months, compared to a loss of almost ‘one billion euros last year.

Net financial debt fell to 29.7 billion euros, excluding Autostrade.

The conglomerate agreed to sell its 88% stake in Autostrade in June to end a political feud sparked by the bridge disaster. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of March next year and bring in more than € 8 billion for the company.

($ 1 = 0.8734 euro)

Reporting by Francesca Landini; edited by Valentina Za and Barbara Lewis

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