Italy aims to sell ITA Airways by end of next month

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the logo of the new state-owned Italian carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo at Fiumicino airport before a news conference to present the aircraft’s new fleet, in Rome, Italy, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government aims to sell state-owned ITA Airways by the end of June after a deadline for binding offers of May 23, Economy Minister Daniele Franco said on Tuesday.

Under a government decree, Rome plans to privatise ITA through a direct sale while retaining a minority, non-controlling stake in a first stage.

Three prospective bidders for ITA Airways have had access to its finance data room, Franco said addressing parliament over the issue.

They are shipping group MSC alongside Germany’s Lufthansa, the U.S. Certares fund in cooperation with Delta and Air France, and investor Indigo Partners, Franco said.

“A key factor is that the buyer is at least 51% owned by a European player,” Franco said.

ITA started flying in October, after replacing Italy’s 75-year-old carrier Alitalia which was finally grounded after years of losses and failed rescue attempts.

Under an agreement with the European Union, Rome can inject up to 1.35 billion euros ($1.42 billion) into the carrier by 2023. A privatisation deal would therefore reduce the financial support granted by the state, limiting the costs for Italian taxpayers.

($1 = 0.9480 euros)

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