Italy gives green light to privatization of Alitalia successor | European | D.W.

The Italian government gave the green light this Friday (02.11.2022) to the privatization of the state airline ITA Airways, the national airline that replaced the former Alitalia, with an executive decree that establishes the procedures and that will be “the usual: public offering or direct sale”, declared the Minister of the Economy, Daniel Franco. The firm is coveted by the large maritime group MSC and Lufthansa.

The decree was approved by the Council of Ministers and paves the way for a public takeover bid for the Italian airline, 100% controlled by the state. “We believe that during the first phase, the government will keep a minority share and not control, which can be sold later”, underlined the minister, who acknowledged that there is no fixed timetable, but that there are several interested parties.

Although Franco did not name any potential buyers, Italian-Swiss cruise line MSC and German airline Lufthansa are known to have expressed intentions to acquire majority stakes. ITA Airways was born from the ashes of Alitalia, which is being liquidated, and has a smaller size, since it has 52 planes and 2,300 employees, compared to the 11,000 that Alitalia had.

will increase the fleet

The announcement of the opening of the privatization comes three weeks after the proposal of MSC and Lufthansa, which pleases several members of the government chaired by Draghi, according to executive sources quoted by Italian media. The cruise line could become a shareholder of ITA, while the German airline would take care of logistical, commercial and strategic support.

The Draghi government has decided to allow access to the company’s financial data (“data room”) to all interested parties, without granting MSC and Lufthansa the requested “90-day exclusivity period”. It is estimated that the value of ITA Airways is between 1.2 and 1.4 billion euros, a financial source told the AFP news agency.

After an initial injection of 700 million euros of public funds in 2021, ITA Airways should benefit from two additional capital increases in 2022 and 2023, bringing the total to 1.35 billion euros. Although the airline started with a small fleet, it plans to increase it to 78 aircraft this year and reach 105 by 2025.

DZC (EFE, AFP)

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