Italy’s Department of Treasury confirmed that it had entered into “exclusive” talks with a consortium that includes Franco-Dutch carrier Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines from the US on the takeover of new flag carrier ITA.
Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), the successor company to bankrupt Alitalia that had been in operation since 1947, began operations last year, reports Xinhua news agency.
ITA has been owned by the Italian state since it was founded, though the country’s Treasury has been conducting negotiations to sell the company.
On Thursday, the Treasury confirmed that it had opened exclusive negotiations with a consortium led by private equity firm Certares along with Air France-KLM and Delta.
News reports indicate that the consortium will pay the Italian government around 335 million euros for a controlling stake in ITA, with the Treasury retaining 49 per cent of the company’s shares along with two seats on the company’s five-member Board of Directors.
An official from the Treasury confirmed the news of the “exclusive” talks when contacted by Xinhua, though the official did not comment on the value of the deal as reported in the Italian media.
Until this week, government officials had been reported to have been in negotiations with at least two consortia, the other being a group that included German carrier Lufthansa and the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s largest container shipping company and a leading cruise operator.
The government’s decision to enter into exclusive talks with the Certares/Air France-KLM/Delta consortium has drawn fire from certain political circles in Italy, since it comes less than a month before a general election that is likely to change the balance of power in the country.
Italy is currently being led by a caretaker government headed Mario Draghi.