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Atlantia SpA (ATL.MI) said Tuesday that highway traffic on its Italian toll-road network declined 8.7% in the first three months of the year from the same period in 2011.
Traffic volume often serves as an indicator of economic growth. Gross domestic product in the euro area's third-largest economy probably contracted by 1% in the first quarter, according to business lobby Confindustria's estimate.
Atlantia, in a note distributed after its annual shareholder assembly, noted that the early traffic data had been affected by blizzard conditions in February and a series of trucker strikes during the first three months of the year.
Factoring out those elements, domestic highway traffic volumes probably fell by 5.1% in the first quarter, the company said.
A difficult start to the year shouldn't impact the company's financial health or investment plans, Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci told shareholders.
Atlantia expects to boost its dividend by 5% a year in coming years, he said, MF-Dow Jones reported.
-By Christopher Emsden, Dow Jones Newswires; +39 06 69766921; email@example.com (Elisa Maiucci of MF-Dow Jones contributed to this report.)