Italy’s Atlantia ups guidance as motorway traffic drives profit

Italian infrastructure group Atlantia (ATL.MI) on Thursday raised its 2021 guidance after reporting a 27% increase in core profit for the first nine months when excluding its domestic motorway business which it has agreed to sell.

Funds from operations (FFO) are expected to reach 2.4 billion euros in 2021, compared with a previous expectation of 2.1 billion euros.

Atlantia said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 2.9 billion euros in the first nine months net of the contribution from Autostrade per l’Italia, its domestic motorway network that the group is selling after a deadly bridge collapse in 2018.

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

The airport business is recovering more slowly, Atlantia said, confirming its expectation for full-year air traffic 70% below 2019 volumes.

Higher motorway revenue, together with lower depreciations and lower provisions linked to the bridge disaster helped Atlantia to achieve a net profit of 613 million euros in the first nine months from a loss of nearly 1 billion euros last year.

The 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 triggered by the bridge disaster. The deal is expected to close by the end of March next year and bring more than 8 billion euros into the company.