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MILAN, June 27 (Reuters) - Italian infrastructure group Atlantia reacted strongly on Thursday to public criticism by the country's industry minister, saying it reserved the right to take legal action to protect its reputation, its staff and investors.
Earlier, the minister, Luigi Di Maio, ruled out any involvement of Atlantia in a rescue of ailing airline Alitalia, saying the group was set to lose its national motorway concession and would not be a desirable investment partner.
"The statements today by deputy prime minister (and industry minister) Di Maio are unsettling for the Atlantia share price ... and give rise to serious reputational damage for the company," Atlantia said in a statement.
Atlantia has never expressed an interest in investing in Alitalia, but there is persistent speculation that it might do so in an effort to mend relations with the government and in particular Di Maio who has vowed to scrap the concession over a deadly bridge collapse on the company's road network last year. (Reporting by Francesca Landini Editing by Mark Bendeich)