ITA planes taking off at Rome Airport
Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP
Lufthansa wants to join the Italian airline ITA Airways.
The MDax group in Frankfurt said that an offer had been made to the government in Rome for a minority stake in Alitalia's successor.
The Italian state, as the sole owner, must now examine whether exclusive negotiations with Lufthansa for a final purchase agreement can be started.
Lufthansa also wants an option to later acquire the remaining shares.
Amounts were not mentioned.
The news did not trigger any significant price movement on the stock exchange.
The Lufthansa share had already gained five percent in the morning after positive business figures from its US partner United Airlines and was recently up more than four percent.
The planned entry at Ita has been an issue for a long time.
The basics of the content of the current bid had already leaked out beforehand.
According to insiders, Lufthansa wants to buy a 40 percent stake in the Alitalia successor for 200 to 300 million euros as a first step, reports the Reuters news agency.
Negotiations with the Italian government should be completed in a few weeks.
The Italian Treasury wants to quickly sign a binding letter of intent with Lufthansa, followed by a decision by the state owner to raise capital, according to people familiar with the process.
Lufthansa explained that after the signing of the letter of intent, there would have to be further negotiations about the structure of a participation, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa Airline Group and the resulting synergies.
Not the first takeover attempt
The ITA started in October 2021 as a significantly smaller and debt-free successor to Alitalia, which finally had to give up despite large government aid in the corona crisis.
ITA has only flown losses since the beginning and also had to be supported by the state.
With around 4,000 employees and 66 aircraft, it has a market share of around 20 percent in its home country.
The data room in Rome that was set up for the new sales process is closing this Wednesday evening.
It was initially unclear whether another bidder was still in the running.
Most recently, negotiations with the financial investor Certares had not led to a conclusion.
The Italian government only wants to sell ITA shares to airlines.
The Lufthansa Group has been trying for years to gain a stronger foothold in the important market beyond the Alps, which also attracts with strong US business.
A takeover of Alitalia was considered several times.
In the end, the Italian state repeatedly saved the Pope's main airline, which had been privatized in the meantime, with large financial injections.
However, the government was no longer able to prevent the final bankruptcy in the corona crisis.
Shipping company no longer part of the deal
Around a year ago, Lufthansa and the Swiss shipping company MSC proposed taking over a majority of ITA Airways, but were temporarily out of the running during the privatization process that was controversial in the election campaign.
There was controversy above all about the influence of the state.
Negotiations with Lufthansa resumed after Certares failed to get a chance.
However, MSC withdrew.
Air France announced on Wednesday that it did not want to acquire a stake in ITA.
However, the company insists on continuing the cooperation with ITA within the Skyteam airline group.