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Autogrill: capital increase marks a turning point

Tondato: "Investment to grow and create value"

"It was not easy to keep the bar straight with empty motorways and airports. For those who, like Autogrill, base their turnover on mobile consumption, the group has over 4,000 points of sale and 60,000 employees in 30 countries, 2020 It was a difficult year and a lot of work", explained the CEO of Autogrill Gianmario Tondato da Ruos, in an interview with Corriere della Sera. A year that the CEO conducted with the management "to secure the people and the income statement, redesign the organizational model and calibrate the efforts to go through this difficult phase".

Last week the group started the process for a capital increase of 600 million that marks a turning point, but that the market has shown to understand, given the wave of sales on the stock. "The pandemic will still proceed in waves but the arrival of vaccines is starting to change prospects. In Italy we have noticed a greater resilience of the motorway channel which, after having suffered a reduction in traffic of over 80%, reached around -35% in the last weeks of the year. Now everyone agrees that there will be a recovery. What is not yet known is when, but it will be there and therefore it is important for Autogrill to prepare before the market restarts", explains the CEO.

Why a capital increase now? Gianmario Tondato da Ruos, specifies: "most of our international competitors have already made capital increases to face the crisis, while we preferred to concentrate on trying to understand how to deal with this discontinuity. When the first lockdown started, in two weeks we redesigned the production model of each business division".

"It is clear that where the losses in turnover have been greater, opportunities to create value will arise: for example the airport channel in North America. In markets where we are already strong, like the United States and Europe, it is easier to find opportunities. We can decide to exit from less performing activities and reinvest in others with greater growth and cash generation. The important thing is to be ready", concludes Tondato.

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