LONDON – ITA – Italy’s brand new flag carrier which rose in October from the ashes of now-defunct Alitalia, is seeking a buyer.
According to the Italian Economic ministry, this will be completed by June 2022.
Daniel Franco, minister for the Economy announced that all bids must be completed by May 23 and a decision will be announced by the end of June.
ITA Airways never planned on dancing alone for long.
The objective was to deconstruct and rebuild Alitalia – now ITA – to make it interesting for future ownership. Altavilla, the Italian flag carrier’s chief executive officer, likes to think of ITA as “a pretty bachelorette” searching for her “Prince Charming”.
Many noticed the interesting choice of personalization of character for an airline.
The airline – or pretty bachelorette – is currently under government ownership. However, the government wants to retain a minority stake after the sale.
The Italian government struggled to sell Alitalia for years before finally ceasing operations. However, the slimmed-down ITA seems to have garnered more interest from prospective investors.
Minister for the Economy Daniel Franco confirmed the identities of the three bidders interested in ITA. Regarding the offers, Franco commented, “We will examine the three offers transparently; there is no decision on our part at present,”
Who are the bidders?
It’s no secret that ITA has always had a keen interest in going, Deutsch. MSC, a shipping and logistics company, had teamed up with Lufthansa group to make an offer.
The offer would entail MSC as the majority stakeholder while Lufthansa and the Italian government hold similar minority stakes.
The joint-bidders requested a 90-day period to firm up the details of the EOI.
Afterward, the terms of the partnership between MSC Group and Lufthansa will be referred to ITA’s Board of Directors for further examination.
ITA says: “The MSC Group has agreed with Lufthansa its participation in the partnership on terms be defined during the Due Diligence.”
ITA, who’s keen on a German acquisition, commented” A takeover by the MSC and Lufthansa group would be financially viable for ITA as they (the group) are recognized as likely partners of international reputation both in passenger and cargo transport.”
Moreover, AviationSource recently reported how Altavilla, ITA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, told the German business newspaper Handelsblatt that ITA, Alitalia’s successor, would like to become a part of the Lufthansa Group.
“It would be wrong to remain independent because we would always be too small compared to the three big airline groups operating in Europe,” Altavilla explained.
An old acquaintance also made another offer for the new carrier.
La Repubblica, a prominent Italian news outlet on March 10, revealed that Delta Airlines, alongside Air France-KLM and US investors, have presented an expression of interest in the Italian carrier to the ministry of Economy. However, the details of the offer remain unknown.
The last and (for now) final offer was surprisingly made by low-cost carrier investors Indigo Partners which currently holds significant shares in American carrier Frontier, Mexican airline Volaris and Hungarian low-fare Wizz. Few details have been revealed about the offer.
The current bidding stage will remain open until May 23, allowing any future admirers to add their proposals.
However, it seems that the final choice will be between the three contenders mentioned above.
ITA airways started operations in 2021 with 52 aircraft. It expects to reach 78 in 2022 and 105 by the end of 2025. Its operations revolve mainly around Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate and hope to operate up to 74 destinations by 2025 from the current 44 being served.
In its first few months of operations, from October 15 to December 31, 2022, ITA recorded revenue of €86 million ($91 million) and an EBIT loss of €170 million ($179 million).