Italy seeks bids for ITA Airways by April 18

The logo of the new state-owned Italian carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo is seen on an aircraft with the new blue livery at Fiumicino airport ahead of a press conference to present the aircraft’s new fleet, in Rome, Italy, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

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MILAN, April 8 (Reuters) – Italy’s Treasury has invited suitors interested in buying a majority stake in ITA Airways to express their formal interest in the carrier by April 18, three sources familiar with the matter said.

ITA took over from Alitalia in October, firmly anchoring the 75-year-old symbol of Italian style and glamour, after years of financial losses and failed rescue attempts.

Shipping group MSC and Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) have expressed interest in buying a majority stake in ITA and have asked for a 90-day exclusivity period to iron out the details of an acquisition. But Rome opted for a market-based procedure aimed at keeping the door open to other potential suitors.

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Last month, the Treasury selected Equita and Gianni & Origoni as financial and legal advisers for the privatization of fully state-owned ITA Airways.

“Advisors have invited several airline industry players to formalize their interest in ITA,” one of the sources said.

The carrier has lined up JPMorgan and Mediobanca to help find private investors, two different sources added.

The government wants to strike a deal on the sale by mid-June, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last week. Read more

Over the past few decades, Alitalia has unsuccessfully attempted to strike alliances with Air France (AIRF.PA) and, more recently, the Gulf airline Etihad.

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) said last month it wanted to deepen its business ties with ITA Airways but was not interested in taking a stake in the carrier.

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Reporting by Francesca Landini and Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Agnieszka Flak

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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