Business World

Wednesday 21 February 2018

EasyJet makes move for Alitalia

 

Budget airline EasyJet and Air France-KLM have presented a joint offer for Italy's struggling national airline Alitalia. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA
Budget airline EasyJet and Air France-KLM have presented a joint offer for Italy's struggling national airline Alitalia. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Massimiliano di Giorgio

Budget airline EasyJet and Air France-KLM have presented a joint offer for Italy's struggling national airline Alitalia, Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said.

The offer is one of three, Calenda said, and he will tomorrow meet the commissioners who have received the bids and are running Alitalia to discuss the details. An Air France spokeswoman declined to comment.

"I'll ask them (the commissioners) to give me the details not only about the offers, but about what kind of offers they are," Calenda said during the taping of a talk show for a television channel. "Afterwards there will be a brief period to understand which of these offers is the best or which can be improved."

US private equity fund Cerberus and Germany's Lufthansa have also made offers, he said.

Lufthansa sees a need for significant restructuring at Italy's Alitalia before the German group would be prepared to buy the airline, Lufthansa's chief executive said in a letter seen by Reuters.

"While recognizing the valuable measures that have been undertaken to date... we strongly believe that there remains a considerable amount of work to be achieved before Lufthansa would be in the position to enter comprehensively into the next phase of the process," Carsten Spohr said in the letter.

He said a restructured "NewAlitalia" would be smaller in terms of both staff and its fleet.

Alitalia, which has made a profit only a few times in its 70-year history, was put under special administration last year after staff rejected a plan to cut jobs and salaries. Any job cuts would be sensitive ahead of a national election in March.

Reuters

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