As the fortunes at their eponymous fashion brand United Colors of Benetton that was once famous of its bright- coloured knitwear and controversial ad campaigns, began dwindling, the Benetton Family's diversification into infrastructure began reaping profits. However, the family’s rewarding business interest is now being criticised after the collapse of the Genoa bridge run by a unit of Benetton-controlled Atlantia that claimed 43 lives last Tuesday. Fallout from the Genoa bridge disaster has erased about 2 billion dollars of net worth from Benetton family’s wealth, reports Bloomberg.
Benettons control 30.25 percent of Atlantia SpA, the construction company and toll-road owner that operated the Morandi Bridge that collapsed last Tuesday. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index the Atlantia stake is their single-largest asset, comprising more than a third of their 13.3 billion dollars wealth.
Benetton family criticised after Genoa bridge tragedy
The company’s stock took a hit after the tragedy and has since dropped 26 percent to a four-year low as the government decides to start the process of ending the company’s concession. In a brief statement posted on its website, Atlantia said that it had not received official termination from the government and that it was “continuing to support Autostrade per l'Italia in its debate with the Government Institutions in such a sensitive moment”.
The report adds that the family has offered support to victims of the tragedy and has also offered to support the repair of severed transit links while Atlantia’s toll-road division, Autostrade per l’Italia SpA, has set up an initial 500 million euro (574 million dollars) fund for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The Bloomberg report further adds that including Atlantia, the family controls 9.3 billion dollars worth of shares in publicly traded companies, including 3 percent of Assicurazioni Generali SpA, 29.9 percent of Spain’s Cellnex Telecom SA as well as closely held assets including Argentinean farmland and the Treviso rugby team.
Picture:Benetton Group website