Austrian, Swiss and soon also ITA? Lufthansa is bidding for Alitalia’s successor

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    Lufthansa wants to take over the majority in ITA, the successor to the Italian airline Alitalia – together with the major Swiss shipping company MSC. Together, the two companies made a binding offer for the company to the Italian state on Monday, as Lufthansa confirmed on Monday on request.

    In the bidding process, which ended on Monday, the consortium of Lufthansa and the Swiss MSC is initially the favourite. Italy’s Finance Minister Daniele Franco said a few days ago that the sale should be completed by the end of June. Italy wants to remain on board the airline with a minority even after the sale.

    It was initially unclear whether further bids were received. The US aviation investor Indigo, Air France-KLM and the US giant Delta also took a detailed look at the Italian figures. The French are working with the financial investor Certares.

    ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) emerged from the insolvent Altialia in 2021. Since 2017, the Italian state has repeatedly lent money to the ailing company. In contrast to the decline of Air Berlin in Germany, the airline was not liquidated in Rome. At the beginning of the corona pandemic in March 2020, the Italian state took over Alitalia completely and started the comeback as ITA – and thus saved the national airline, with which the Pope also flew and continues to fly.

    Lufthansa regards Italy as its most important foreign market in Europe. In Rome, CEO Carsten Spohr advertised the concept of his many hubs (multi-hub) and airline brands. The gradual takeover and integration of companies such as Austrian, Brussels Airlines and Swiss could become a model for Ita. Rome, like Zurich, could also remain an important air traffic hub. Lufthansa is initially aiming for a minority stake, the CEO had said.

    Lufthansa could keep the financial risk of an ITA takeover within limits in association with the major shipping company MSC, but quickly integrate the new company into its operational systems. Led by the Italian shipping family Aponte, MSC, like the competition from Maersk to Lufthansa’s major shareholder Klaus-Michael K├╝hne, is looking for logistics investments to strategically accommodate billions in surplus from sea freight. With CMA CGM, a multi-billion shipping company has also entered Air France as a major shareholder.

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