Lufthansa, shipping group MSC eye majority stake in Italy's ITA

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 25 2022 08:53 AM

Lufthansa airplanes are seen at the Terminal 1 of the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport 'Willy Brandt' in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany October 29, 2020. Hannibal Hanschke, Reuters/File Photo
Lufthansa airplanes are seen at the Terminal 1 of the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport 'Willy Brandt' in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany October 29, 2020. Hannibal Hanschke, Reuters/File Photo

ROME - German carrier Lufthansa and Italian shipping company MSC have expressed an interest in acquiring a majority stake in Alitalia's successor ITA Airways, the Italian airline announced on Monday.

ITA said it received the declaration of interest on Monday and that the proposal stipulated that the Italian state, which owns ITA, would retain a minority stake in the company.

Lufthansa and MSC, which is one of the world's biggest container shipping companies, also requested a 90-day period of exclusivity on the negotiations, according to ITA.

MSC confirmed the proposal in a statement.

Lufthansa also confirmed it was in discussions to acquire the stake with MSC.

"We are the potential commercial partner of MSC," a Lufthansa spokesman told AFP.

ITA said its board would examine the details of the offer in an upcoming meeting.

A source briefed on the matter told AFP the Italian government would first have to call a cabinet meeting to examine the offer before ITA's board convenes.

ITA was formed out of the remnants of Italy's loss-making flag carrier Alitalia, which the European Commission insisted be wrapped up as a condition for approving further aid by the Italian government.

ITA took over half of Alitalia's planes and took to the skies in mid-October.

The airline said Monday it was "satisfied" that the work it had undertaken in recent months to improve the company's outlook was beginning to bear fruit.

It added that ITA had now gained international credibility as an operator of both passenger and cargo aircraft.

Lufthansa had long been touted as a potential partner, but a rescue attempt fell through in early 2020. 

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