ITA can be privatised says Italian government

Italian government gives green light to privatisation of ITA Airways

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On Friday, the Italian government agreed to the privatisation of ITA Airways with Lufthansa and MSC looking on with interest. ITA is the successor to Alitalia.

Cabinet ministers were presented with “a decree… to start the process of looking for a partner for ITA”, Finance Minister Daniele Franco told a news conference.

He said there was no timing yet, and it could be through “public offer or direct sale”, but “the government will maintain a minority share, not a controlling share of ITA, that could be sold at a later stage”.

ITA commenced operations in October 2021, emerging from the ruins of Alitalia – the national carrier which had been under state administration since 2017. The value of ITA is currently between €1.2 billion and €1.4 billion, a financial source told AFP.

Lufthansa and MSC watch with interest

German carrier Lufthansa and MSC expressed an interest last month in acquiring a majority stake. Along with being the world’s biggest container shipping company, MSC also has a holiday division called MSC Cruises.

MSC and Lufthansa requested a 90-day period of exclusivity to hold negotiations. Despite the request, the government has opened up the sale to all potential bidders.

“A sale to MSC and Lufthansa could be the last chapter in a history that has already cost the taxpayer too much money,” said Andrea Giuricin, a transport economist at Milan’s Bicocca university.

He told AFP, “ITA Airways will not be able to survive on its own, without the support of a major European airline. In the first two and a half months of its existence, it lost €135 per passenger carried.”

In total, ITA received €700million from the Italian government in 2021, with further cash injections totalling €1.35billion expected this year. The next tranche of €400million is due by the end of March.

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