Deutsche Lufthansa AG has struck an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to acquire a minority stake (41%) in national carrier ITA Airways.
The share acquisition priced at €325 million/$348 million will be funded through a capital increase – with the option to buy the remaining shares at a later date, a statement confirmed.
As part of the transaction, MEF has committed to inject €250m into ITA, with the contractual agreement expected to be finalised shortly subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
In addition, MEF and Lufthansa have agreed on options to enable a potential acquisition of the remaining shares by Lufthansa at a later date.
The purchase price for the remaining shares will be based on the business development of ITA Airways, added the statement.
ITA ‘to remain standalone carrier’
Under the Lufthansa Group, ITA will continue to function as a standalone carrier with its own management while benefitting from the German carrier’s partner network, central revenue management and global sales and marketing functions.
State-owned ITA had previously been the subject of interest from MSC Group and Lufthansa, as reported.
However, it later emerged according to several media outlets that MSC had pulled out of negotiations aligned to ITA’s planned privatisation.
A Lufthansa spokesperson told Reuters in November that the German group remained interested in buying ITA, despite MSC’s decision to withdraw.
Carsten Spohr, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said: “The agreement will lead to a win-win situation for Italy, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group. And it is good news for Italian consumers and for Europe, because a stronger ITA will invigorate competition in the Italian market.
“As a young company with a modern fleet, and with its efficient and expanding hub in Rome, ITA is a perfect fit for Lufthansa Group.
“In Milan, ITA serves a strong catchment area which also offers potential for growth. As part of the Lufthansa Group family, ITA can develop into a sustainable and profitable airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world. At the same time, this investment will enable us to continue our growth in one of our most important markets.”
Founded in November 2020, the successor to Alitalia serves more than 10 million passengers per year through its modern fleet of 66 Airbus aircraft.