The Strategist

Certares, Air France-KLM, Delta Airlines consortium remains only bidder for ITA Airways

09/01/2022 - 09:05

Le Figaro reports that the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance has found a prospective buyer for the national carrier ITA Airways.

A group led by the American investment fund Certares was the sole bidder for the purchase, and the Italian government will now enter into exclusive negotiations with them.

Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM are also members of the alliance.

The investor in Wizz Air, Indigo Partners, and a group made up of Lufthansa Airlines and the shipping giant MSC were also interested in buying ITA Airways. The front-runners in the competition for ITA Airways were thought to be Lufthansa and MSC. They made a bid for 80% of the Italian airline's capital of €850 million at the end of August. The remaining 20% would be retained by the Italian government.

The consortium led by Certares and the Ministry of Economy did not comment on the offer. Il Messaggero, an Italian newspaper, reported that Certares offered to purchase ITA's 56 percent ownership for roughly €600 million, leaving the Italian government with just 44 percent of the share capital and two directorships. The Economy Ministry stated that Certares' offer "was regarded most suited for the aims pursued."

Alitalia, which had been problematic and unsuccessful for years, was replaced in November 2020 by ITA Airways. The latter was reorganized, and a considerably more compact airline resulted: nearly half as many planes are operated by ITA, which has only assumed some of the financial responsibilities of Alitalia.