Alitalia Airline rescue: All-out negotiations with Benettons

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The plight of Alitalia Airline continues just as expected with negotiations for Alitalia by the Benetton Group ongoing, despite the denials of the case by both parties.

“The plan sees Atlantia [an Italian holding company operating airports and toll motorways] concur with 15-20% at first, and then an additional 20% from the MEF to avoid the European Commission’s infringement procedure,” stated the, which reiterates that the main interest of the 5-stars is that of not making the operation seem like an exchange of favors in relation to the non-revocation of the concession of the motorway section that includes the Ponte Morandi – this is a reference to the disaster of the bridge that collapsed in Genoa, Italy, for which the Benetton Group was proven guilty due to failing to keep up with ordinary maintenance. Not by chance, lawyers are at work on both sides on a study for a solution, perhaps ending up with assigning the stretch of the Genoa bridge to another concessionaire.

Meanwhile, as expected, the government has decided to extend the deadline for the presentation of Ferrovie dello Stato’s binding offer on Alitalia to June 15, giving the group led by Gianfranco Battisti more time to find a new industrial partner – Luigi Di Maio (the 5-star political group leader who has recently denied that other taxpayers’ money will be used in addition to those already granted by the Treasury for the bridge loan that will be converted into shares – all the while aware that the bridge loan will never be paid by Aliatalia – in addition to Delta Air Lines.

“There is no lack of expressions of interest, but they have not yet materialized in formal offers,” the Minister for Economic Development reiterated a few days ago, stressing that the percentage of shareholders to be covered in the future “NewCo” (new company) is not higher than 30%. “Soon there will be a consortium,” is, therefore, the promise of the head of the 5-star, supported by the fact that recently the League party also would have manifested its opening at the entrance of Atlantia in the match.

Keeping a close watch on Lufthansa

In the background, then, there is always the Lufthansa issue, which has always favorably looked at the rich Italian market, and in particular at the Linate slots owned by the former flag carrier but is not willing to take on a bankrupt Alitalia like the current one.

The CEO of the German group, Carsten Spohr, reiterated this during the recent shareholders’ meeting, saying that the interest in a restructuring is real (in this case, the expected redundancies could, however, reach a few thousand), but without the shadow of the Italian state presence.

According to what was reported by Milano Finanza economic daily, in the past few days, the Germans could also think about an acquisition in two stages, starting from the majority to reach 100%. However, the partners in support should be in the airline sector, even better if already in business with Lufthansa.

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