Will Lufthansa grab the Ita?
05/23/2022, 06:58 am
Strikes, bankruptcies and dramatic rescue operations – that’s what Alitalia was known for. With the successor Ita that should be completely different. Lufthansa is considering joining the airline.
Is the Lufthansa Group expanding its sphere of influence to the south? For sale is a stake in Alitalia’s successor Ita, for which the Italian state, as the sole owner, is expecting concrete offers up to and including today’s Monday. Italy wants to remain on board with a minority and complete the deal by the end of June, Finance Minister Daniele Franco announced a few days ago.
Together with the Geneva-based major shipping company MSC, Lufthansa has checked the numbers of the completely renewed and downsized airline, whose legendary predecessor was always accompanied by strikes and near-bankruptcies. According to Franco, the US aviation investor Indigo, which has a stake in the low-cost airline Wizz in Europe, as well as the airlines Air France/KLM and the US giant Delta, with which Ita has so far been linked via the Skyteam alliance, were also in the data room is.
While Delta has already stated that it does not want to invest its own capital, Air France could become Lufthansa’s closest competitor in the race for the Ita. However, the French have not yet repaid their state aid from the Corona crisis, so they are prohibited from direct acquisitions by the EU. A possible way out could be cooperation with the financial investor Certares.
Lufthansa regards Italy as its most important foreign market in Europe. In Rome, CEO Carsten Spohr campaigned for trust with the concept of his many hubs (multi-hub) and airline brands. The gradual takeover and integration of companies such as Austrian, Brussels Airlines and Swiss could become a model for Ita, and Rome and Zurich could also remain important air traffic hubs. “Lufthansa has specialized in a hub model and in national airlines that keep their own identity,” praised Rome airport boss Marco Troncone recently in the “Handelsblatt”.
Lufthansa could keep the financial risk of an Ita takeover within limits in association with the major shipping company MSC, but quickly integrate the new airline into its operational systems. Led by the Italian shipowner family Aponte, MSC, like the competition from Maersk to Lufthansa’s major shareholder Klaus-Michael Kühne, is looking for logistics investments to accommodate the current billion-dollar surplus from sea freight. According to Spohr, Lufthansa is initially aiming for a minority stake in Ita. You would then see what would develop from it “over time,” he explained a few days ago.
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