DALLAS – Italy’s Treasury has picked financial and legal experts to oversee the imminent privatization of Alitalia successor ITA Airways (AZ).
According to news outlet Corriere della Sera, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance expects to open a “data room” holding sensitive information on the airline in the first half of April.
Insiders told the newspaper on March 24 that Equita, an Italian investment bank, and law firm Gianni & Origoni will be the advisers that will help the government smooth the sale, names that two sources verified to the Reuters news agency on the same day.
Ch-aviation reports that, before the keys to the data room are handed over to interested parties, representatives from the two firms will meet with the ministry and ITA officials to discuss the procedure and how to get it approved by the European Commission.
The representatives will also work with the financial banks JPMorgan Chase and Mediobanca, as well as the law firms Grande Stevens and Sullivan & Cromwell, whom the airline has already chosen to assist in matters relating to a possible strategic alliance.
According to Corriere della Sera, a consortium of Lufthansa (LH) and shipping business MSC has reaffirmed its interest in obtaining a majority stake in AZ. The offer on the table is €1.2-1.4bn (US$1.32-1.55bn). According to local media reports, Air France-KLM and US-based Indigo Partners have both done so.
Additionally, the Italian publication La Repubblica has reported that Delta Air Lines (DL) also expressed interest in acquiring a majority stake in AZ, submitting an “Express of Interest” document (EOI) to the Italian Ministry of Finance. Last week, a representative for DL acknowledged that the US-based airline is in constant contact with AZ management, but declined to comment any further.
As agreed with European Union authorities, the government, which aims to keep minority ownership in the carrier, is permitted to inject an additional €1.35bn (US$1.49bn) into the carrier over the next three years. In the meantime, the Alitalia successor unveiled its first A350 this week.
Featured image: Photo: Darryl Sarno/Airways