Lufthansa is the only bidder to buy Italy's ITA Airways

Lufthansa remains the only bidder to buy Italy's ITA Airways

German aviation group Lufthansa has applied to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. If the deal gets a preliminary go-ahead, Lufthansa will negotiate privately with the Italian government. The group, in addition to Lufthansa, includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and SWISS.

The commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa airline group and the resulting impact, as well as the form of potential equity investment, will be discussed. The airline said it would be subject to regulatory approval if the deal goes through. According to the press release, “outside its home markets and the US” Italy is the most significant market for the Lufthansa Group.

Previously, other bidders: Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM and investment company Certares competed with Lufthansa and shipping corporation MSC for the acquisition of ITA Airways. The Italian government initially favored just this option. However, as the Delta-Air France-KLM-Certares consortium lost interest, Lufthansa was left as the only potential investor in the Italian carrier.

In October 2021, the then Italian government agreed with the European Commission to spend up to 1.35 billion euros, creating ITA Airways in place of the bankrupt Alitalia. When the total investment exceeded €1.1 billion in November 2022, the government ran out of opportunities to help the airline stay afloat financially.

Local media reported that ITA Airways was projected to cost from €450 to 480 million euros, and that the Italian government intends to sign a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa to move the deal forward. In addition, at the end of December 2022, local lawmakers passed a resolution that would allow interested parties to first apply for a minority stake in ITA Airways before airlines are allowed to bid for ownership of the Italian flag carrier.

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