Economy

Threat to strip contract sends Genoa bridge operator's stock diving

Threat to strip contract sends Genoa bridge operator's stock diving

Officials said no warehouse personnel were inside, since it was closed for summer holidays.

The company failed to start trading on Thursday after falling 20 percent in pre-market trading.

Investigators are also working to determine what caused a 260ft long stretch of highway to break off from the 150ft high bridge in the north-western port city. Shares in the company have since fallen by around 22%.

Salvini said the private sector manager of the bridge had earned "billions" from tolls but "did not spend the money they were supposed to" and its concession should be revoked.

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the vehicle", he told TV news channel Sky TG24.

The condition of the bridge, and its ability to sustain large increases in both the intensity and weight of traffic over the years, have been a focus of public debate since Tuesday's collapse, when an 80-meter span gave way at lunchtime as cars packed with holidaymakers as well as trucks streamed across it. Autostrade, which operates almost 3,200km of Italian motorways, is controlled by the Benetton group through its holding company, Atlantia. "First the central pillar crumbled and then everything else came down".

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the vehicle", Davide Capello told TV news channel Sky TG24. "I thought it was all over for me".

Capello told BFM that he survived with only minor injuries because his auto fell between concrete blocks that formed a sort of protection from further damage.

A French lawyer identified only as Leonine by Francetvinfo told the broadcaster that she and her husband and 3-year-old son were just entering the bridge when "we saw the pylon go completely to the right, and we realized what was happening".

At least 37 people died, including three children, and dozens more were injured during the tragedy.

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Salvini said in Genoa on Wednesday that it is hard to establish who is not responding because they are on vacation and "who doesn't respond because they are under the rubble".

Authorities said the numbers would probably rise with more victims likely to be found in the rubble, with hopes of finding survivors fading.

Atlantia, the company behind the motorway bridge that collapsed in the port city of Genoa this week, has warned its investors to prepare for it losing valuable contracts, wiping more than €5bn (£4.5bn) from its value.

Italy's government blamed the firm that operated the collapsed Genoa bridge for the disaster that has claimed at least 39 lives, as search operations entered a second night on Wednesday with rescuers digging through mountains of crushed concrete.

ITALY has declared a "state of emergency" that will last a YEAR as shocking pictures show the Morandi bridge crumbling weeks before it collapsed killing 39 people.

The company said world-leading experts made regular safety inspections of the 1.2km-long bridge and it completed an overhaul two years ago.

Engineering experts called it a "tragedy waiting to happen".

Italy's economy minister, a former economics professor who appears more attuned to the moods of markets than some of his colleagues, also hinted on Wednesday that infrastructure might not fit neatly into the call for easier European Union funding rules.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte travelled to the site of the disaster yesterday, saying "it is shocking to see the twisted metal and the bridge collapsed with victims who were extracted".

Conte also called for swift removal of the tons of debris that fell in Genoa to facilitate rail travel and reduce the danger of floods.


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