U.S. Markets closed

Salini could team up with Italian partners in Astaldi bid

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian construction company Salini Impregilo could team up with other Italian partners in its bid for troubled builder Astaldi, the group's chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Salini, Italy's biggest infrastructure builder by sales, said last month it had presented a non-binding expression of interest in Astaldi, after sources said in October it was looking at a possible industrial tie-up with the builder.

Astaldi filed for court protection from creditors in September after being hit by delays to plans to sell a bridge in Turkey.

"We are working intensely on Astaldi every day so there will be some developments," Massimo Ferrari said on the sidelines of a conference. "There are no immediate deadlines but clearly time is tight in pressing ahead."

Asked if partners would be industrial or financial, Ferrari said "financial too".

Sources said Salini, which makes less than 10 percent of its revenue in Italy, was looking to make a new non-binding offer with greater detail by Dec. 14.

Astaldi, which is focusing on securing a bridge loan to stay afloat, has until Dec. 16 to present a rescue plan to the court but is expected to ask for 60 more days to better assess bids.

Astaldi's creditor banks include Italy's top 3 banks Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and Banco BPM.

Japan's IHI Corporation, which has several projects in common with Astaldi, has previously expressed interest in the builder and sources said the group is in the data room phase, meaning they are examining the company's records.

Italy's construction sector was one of the worst hit in Europe during the economic crisis, partly because of the relatively small size of its players.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, additional reporting by Paola Arosio, writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Jan Harvey)