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Deminor Recovery Services investigates Genoa bridge collapse

Newsletter 09/2018
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On 14 August 2018, the Morandi Bridge, part of the Polcevera viaduct linking Italy to France via the A10 motorway, suffered a partial collapse. As a result, the share price of Atlantia, the listed corporation managing part of Italy’s highway system, suffered a 25% drop in value.

Deminor Recovery Services is currently examining the official documents associated with the event to determine whether investors may have potential claims against one or more of the parties under criminal investigation.

Event background and timeline

The Morandi Bridge, one of Genoa’s landmarks, was completed in 1967. 14 years later in 1981, experts determined that the bridge had deteriorated faster than expected – particularly pylon 9, the one that collapsed in August during a heavy rainstorm, killing 43 people. However, no retrofitting works were discussed before 2015, when Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI) – a sister company of Atlantia, 30.25% controlled by the Benetton family – began discussing a reinforcement project.

The results of an external analysis of the bridge were delivered by May 2016, showing instability and the need for continuous monitoring of pylons 9 and 10, which was never done. ASPI’s board of directors requested the approval of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) only in October 2017, which was granted 150 days later. Ultimately, the June 2018 approval came too late for the Morandi Bridge.

The value of Atlantia dropped by around 25% in just a few days after the bridge collapse, a loss of 5.5 billion euro.

Key red flags suggesting liability

Our investigation seeks to determine whether Atlantia’s top management and board of directors were aware of the stability issues of the bridge, and from when. The following red flags may indicate that investors have claims against losses suffered due to the event.

  • ASPI’s board was aware of the urgent need to intervene after the external analysis of the bridge in as early as 2015.
  • 5 e-mails sent by ASPI maintenance works manager Michele Donferri Mitelli in February, March and April 2018 suggest that ASPI was concerned about the stability of the bridge.
  • In 1 of the 5 e-mails, Mitelli expressed his concern that works were unlikely to begin until the 2nd half of 2019/beginning of 2020 due to long approval times, suggesting urgency.
  • 20 individuals, including senior executives of ASPI and Atlantia as well as ASPI itself, are under criminal investigation.

Next steps forward

While these red flags are concerning, Deminor Recovery Services has not yet decided to open this case for registrationWe base our inquiry on publicly available official documents and do not have a clear indication of specific liabilities at this time. If our team does identify specific liabilities in the course of our ongoing investigation, Deminor Recovery Services will inform investors in due time.

 

Rosario Marcone

Written on September 14, 2018 by

Rosario Marcone

Deminor Recovery Services – Country Manager Italy. Responsible for promoting and managing Italian cases in the three core business area of Deminor Recovery Services: Investment Recovery, Antitrust Damages and Commercial Litigation

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