UPDATE 1-Atlantia extends unit sale talks, posts 30% drop in sales

(Recasts with extended talks over sale of unit, details on results)

MILAN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Italy’s Atlantia has extended to Feb. 24 negotiations with a consortium led by state lender CDP over the sale of its motorway unit, as it strives to end a dispute triggered by the collapse of a bridge run by the division.

Atlantia has been discussing the sale of its 88% stake in the motorway unit, Autostrade per l’Italia, since October with a group of suitors comprising CDP and investment funds Macquarie and Blackstone.

The talks had previously been due to have ended by the end of January, but Atlantia extended that deadline and asked the CDP-led consortium submit a binding offer, that is not conditional on syndication or financing, by Feb. 24.

The negotiations are part of renewed efforts to end a long-standing feud between the group and the Italian government over the 2018 bridge disaster. The incident, in the port city of Genoa, claimed 43 lives.

In a separate statement Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, said 2020 revenue fell 29% year-on-year to 8.2 billion euros ($9.84 billion) as passenger numbers at Rome’s airport dropped 77% and traffic on its Italian motorways declined 27%.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 3.7 billion euros in 2020 from 5.7 billion euros the previous year.

The group said available liquidity rose to 8.6 billion euros at end of 2020 from 5.2 billion euros at the end of 2019, partly thanks to bond issuances.

$1 = 0.8331 euros Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Pravin Char