Italy's likely new prime minister agrees to continue ITA Airways sale
Giorgia Meloni, Italy's presumptive prime minister, has agreed to sell Italian airline ITA Airways, the legal successor to Alitalia, which went bankrupt. She has dropped her previous resistance to the plan, according to one of Meloni's close advisers.
Italy previously announced its intention to privatize ITA, and granted exclusive negotiation rights to a consortium including Air France-KLM, Certares and Delta. A rival offer from the German airline Lufthansa was rejected. Lufthansa was working together with MSC, the Swiss-Italian cruise ship operator which also offers container transport.
Meloni previously demanded that Prime Minister Mario Draghi stop selling ITA when elections were imminent. She suggested that the airline was transferred to "foreign funds" without a full-fledged plan, and after it received billions of euros in government aid. Draghi responded, saying the selling process would continue regardless of the election.
However, he also stated that the process would be non-binding, so that the new government can decide whether to negotiate with another party, or stop privatization outright.
In negotiations with the Air France-KLM consortium, the Italian State would still hold about 40 percent of ITA's shares. Italy could also control two of the five board seats, including a veto over the appointment of new management.
Reporting by ANP