Lufthansa is to buy 41% of ITA Airways via a 325-million-euro capital increase, the German carrier said on Thursday. It reached an agreement with the Italian economy ministry to acquire a minority stake.
Lufthansa said it will have an option to buy the remainder of ITA’s shares at a later date. The Italian state has full ownership of ITA, which replaced loss-making former flag-carrier Alitalia in 2021.
“Today marks the end of a part of the history of the national flag-carrier that has led to the prospect of a merger with an important European airline,” Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said.
“Today the government resolves an issue that has conditioned the Italian air-transport market for 30 years.
“We are convinced this decision will make it possible for the aviation market to develop in Italy’s interest”.
Previously, the Italian government had backed a Certares bid for a majority stakeholder.
Italian government to commit €250million
Lufthansa said the Italian government also committed to a capital increase of €250 million into ITA as part of the agreement. The finalisation of the contract is expected to be completed shortly.
“Today’s agreement will lead to a win-win situation for Italy, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group,” said Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.
“And it is good news for Italian consumers and for Europe, because a stronger ITA will invigorate competition in the Italian market.
“As a young company with a modern fleet, and with its efficient and expanding hub in Rome, ITA is a perfect fit for Lufthansa Group.
“In Milan, ITA serves a strong catchment area which also offers potential for growth.
“As part of the Lufthansa Group family, ITA can develop into a sustainable and profitable airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world.
“At the same time, this investment will enable us to continue our growth in one of our most important markets.”