MILAN (Reuters) – Germany’s Lufthansa is set to buy a 40% stake in Alitalia’s successor ITA Airways and a deal could be unveiled next week, Italian daily Il Foglio reported on Saturday.
ITA Airways started flying on Oct. 15 with nearly 2,300 employees and a fleet less than half the size of that operated by Alitalia, the 75-year old one-time symbol of Italian style and glamour, which passed through a dizzying succession of restructurings and changes of ownership.
The newspaper did not give a price for any deal.
An ITA spokesperson said that the airline’s top management would present a strategic plan to board on Jan. 31, and a data room would be opened in the following days, as stated in a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.
Sources told Reuters on Jan. 12 that the Italian carrier was in contact with Lufthansa, British Airways and United States-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) for an equity partnership, adding that formal talks could start by the end of March.
Lufthansa was not immediately available to comment on Saturday but a spokesperson reiterated at that time that the German carrier was open to the possibility of a partnership with ITA.
Delta denied it plans to invest in ITA.
According to Il Foglio, Lufthansa and ITA are very close to agreeing over some key terms of the deal, such as the role of Fiumicino airport as a hub for direct flights to Africa and some routes to the Americas.
The deal will be subject to European Union approval, the paper added.
Source: Reuters /Investing.com