DALLAS – Troubled ITA Airways (AZ) has been awarded a further €400m (US$402m) of funds by the Italian Government. The money will be available by the end of November once the Economy Ministry has approved the cash injection.
The move comes as the Government attempts to sell the state-owned carrier. Various parties have shown interest, including the Lufthansa (LH) Group and shipping company MSC. The frontrunner was a consortium comprised of US investment fund Certares, Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM.
However, talks with the latter have since stalled. This led the new Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti to announce that the exclusivity of negotiations had not been renewed, putting the LH and MSC back in the running.
Lufthansa/MSC Deal Still on the Table
Indeed, LH has said that it is “still interested” in taking over AZ on the proviso that the deal saw a “real privatisation of the airline.” Their offer saw 80% of ITA being acquired for €850 million (US$855m), leaving the Italian Government with the remaining 20% of shares
The Certares-led consortium meanwhile proposed a deal worth €350 million (US$339m) for 50% of ITA, plus one share.
ITA Chairman Alfredo Altavilla was unhappy with the latter’s offer and was subsequently removed from the board in October. Chief Executive Fabio Maria Lazzerini replaced him.
ITA Airways took over as the Italian flag carrier from beleaguered Alitalia last year. The European Commission has since authorised the country’s Government to pump up to €1.35 million (US$1.35m) into the company.
Featured Image: ITA Airways Airbus A319 (EI-IMN). Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways.