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Atlantia crisis: what will be the repercussions in the aeronautical services?

In case of the floated revocation of the concession

What repercussions could there be for Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) if the Italian government decides to remove the motorway concession to Atlantia? A good question but for which it is not easy to find an exhaustive answer, also because the decisions that will be taken in this regard are not clear yet.

Already on 16 August -the day after the tragic collapse of the Morandi bridge- the rating agency Standard & Poor decided to downgrade the shares of Atlantia, including those of the main subsidiaries like AdR -controlled for 95.913% by the Group of the Benetton. The rating will probably become BBB+, a choice that has led to a revaluation also by Moody's who expects to bring it to Baa2, downgrade it to the current Baa1. This means that the two main rating agencies in the world also have repercussions in subsidiaries in the hypothesis of a revocation of the motorway concession, leading them to imagine a medium-low risk in the investment. This would further bring down the value of the shares as a result of less investor confidence, which could also trigger claims for damages within the shareholding of Atlantia -also set up by the Singapore GIC fund and BlackRock.

An Atlantia without highways, however, could remain standing quietly judging from the budget of last year, in which it obtained from the airport sector -AdR and Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur- revenues of 799 million euros, increasing them by 25.78% to 636 million in 2016. At the same time, however, this is not the "driving" sector -Autostrade per l'Italia brings 3.9 billion revenues to the Group- but by itself it would undoubtedly allow the company to remain operational, not least because Debt exposure would collapse to around 2.5 billion against the current 10.

However, this remains a hypothesis based on last year's balance sheet data; in reality, the risk for Atlantia is that the revocation of the motorway concession would lead to its collapse on the Stock Exchange. The rating agencies could further revise the rating, posing a serious risk to the Atlantia related aeronautical services, including the management of Fiumicino and Ciampino airports.

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