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COLLAPSE

The operator behind the Genoa bridge collapse faces a share-price reckoning

Edmund Heaphy
By Edmund Heaphy

Contributing writer

Shares in Atlantia—the parent company of the operator of the bridge that collapsed in Genoa on Aug. 14—plunged by more than 9% Monday morning, after Italy’s interior minister said Sunday night that the government plans to revoke the operator’s license to run some 3,408 km (2,120 miles) of the country’s motorways.

The interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said that the operator, Autostrade per L’Italia, “should be ashamed of itself.” He told crowds at a Tuscany rally (paywall) for his political party, the League, that the operator should “open its wallet and rebuild everything and repay everyone,” according to the Financial Times. Autostrade has already offered to pay €500m ($570m) in reconstruction and compensation costs—a sum Salvini rebuffed as a “minimum wage offer.”

The tragic accident, which killed 43 people, is also an early test for Italy’s new government, which came to power after three months of tortuous negotiations in June. The coalition sought to pin the blame for the accident on the EU, suggesting that the bloc’s rules have prevented Italy from spending money on infrastructure. In fact, the EU has been urging Italy to spend more on that very thing.

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