DALLAS – Today, at 11:59 p.m., the deadline for parties interested in submitting a binding bid to buy the majority of ITA Airways’ (AZ) shares expires.
Two consortia are competing to acquire the Italian flag carrier: the US firm Certares, which is partnering with the carriers Air France (AF) and Delta Air Lines (DL); and the Italian-German axis, which is comprised of the shipping corporation Msc and the airline Lufthansa (LH).
Despite the contrary view of the Council of State, the National Anti-Corruption Authority (Anac) recently dismissed the sanction proceedings against the Aponte family’s Mediterranean Shipping Company (Msc) Group, indicating that Msc-LH may succeed. This was a measure pending since 2017 in relation to an alleged case of Pantouflage (the employment of former public officials in private firms) involving Luigi Merlot, the former president of the Port of Genoa from 2008 to 2015.
In short, Anac recognized the “good faith” of all parties concerned. Thus, the sale of AZ from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Mef) to the consortium consisting of LH and the Italo-Swiss group Msc is now feasible.
The two parties have until tonight to submit a binding purchase offer containing the amount each is willing to pay to take possession of the majority stake in the state-owned airline.
In doing so, several conditions may be met, such as extending the negotiations (in-depth and due diligence), obtaining guarantees on unsolved concerns (capital increase), determining who will hold the minority interest, the value of the latter, or asserting the right of first refusal.
In April, data from Cirium’s FlightStats confirmed that AZ led Europe as the most on-time airline, an international benchmark in terms of regularity. For that period, 90.8% of flights landed on time and 99.3% of the total operation was completed on time.
This is a developing story.
Featured image: Darryl Sarno/Airways