The new decree on the privatization of ITA Airways, which seems tailor-made for an entry into its capital of Lufthansa, has been published in the Italian Official Journal, paving the way for the submission of offers.
This decree, published Monday evening, provides for a sale “
in several stages
” going through an initial phase of capital increase reserved for the purchaser who should initially buy out a minority share.
Subsequently, the claimant, which must necessarily be an airline, may acquire the majority of the capital of ITA Airways, born from the ashes of Alitalia, specifies the decree.
The German airline giant Lufthansa, considered a big favorite in the race to buy ITA, could thus follow the path already taken for its increase in the capital of Brussels Airlines, acquired in two stages, in 2009 and 2016. he minority share of ITA, Lufthansa should take control of Alitalia's successor, even if the Italian State retains a right of scrutiny over strategic decisions.
According to the daily Corriere della Sera, Lufthansa is aiming for a share of around 40%, valued at between 180 and 200 million euros, and could rise to 100% of the capital in the medium term.
Officially, all takeover candidates who had participated in the previous sale procedure conducted by the former government led by Mario Draghi are however authorized to submit offers.
The Draghi government had selected at the end of August the competing offer of the American investment fund Certares, associated with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, with a view to the opening of exclusive negotiations.
Faced with the lack of progress in the discussions, the new Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti announced in October his decision not to renew the exclusivity period.
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Mr. Giorgetti, favorable to a takeover of ITA by Lufthansa, was skeptical vis-à-vis Air France-KLM, which would have been according to him a simple commercial and non-industrial partner.
An entry into the capital by Air France-KLM could not in fact exceed 10%, because the company has its hands tied due to the conditions imposed by the European Commission in return for the public aid received to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. .
The Italian-Swiss shipping giant MSC, which had submitted a joint offer with Lufthansa in January 2022, had thrown in the towel in November, leaving the German company alone on the track.