MSC Group and Lufthansa interested in buying majority stake in ITA Airways

By Luke Barras-hill |

Source: Shutterstock/rarrarorro.

[UPDATED] Italy’s ITA Airways has received an expression of interest (EOI) from the MSC Group and Lufthansa to purchase a majority share in the state-owned carrier.

Switzerland-based global shipping firm MSC – the parent of MSC Cruises – and Germany’s flag carrier want the Italian government to retain a minority stake in the airline, the successor to Alitalia.

MSC and Lufthansa have requested 90 days of exclusivity to work on the EOI.

“ITA Airways is satisfied that the work carried out in recent months to offer the best prospects to the company is starting to have the expected results, providing for a company recognised as viable for partners of international reputation both in passenger and cargo transport,” read a statement from ITA Airways.

“The Board of Directors will examine the details of the Expression of Interest in an upcoming meeting.”

Source: MSC Group.

‘EXPLORING OPTIONS’

A Lufthansa Group spokesperson confirmed to TRBusiness that the airline is a partner in a possible acquisition of the majority stake, but declined to comment further on the timing of the partner bid or the motivations for it.

“We will use the upcoming 90 days to explore all possible options for cooperation including a possible equity investment,” said the spokesperson.

Should the Italian government signal the green light the ITA Airways Board will then examine details of the EOI at a future meeting and decide to enter into exclusive talks with both companies, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

In a statement shared with TRBusiness, MSC Group said: “The MSC Group aims to create a partnership with the Italian government and Lufthansa as the project’s industrial partner. Lufthansa has already expressed its interest in taking part in the initiative.

“MSC Group’s interest derives from the possibility of activating positive synergies for both companies in the cargo and passenger sectors where the MSC Group is a global leader. MSC Group and Lufthansa, following the expression of interest, require an exclusivity period of 90 business days and subject to regulatory approvals and due diligence.”

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