Investor in final talks with Alitalia as carriers battle it out for stake
Wednesday, October 29, 2008: As CAI, the investor consortium holds meetings this week with Alitalia’s nine unions, the rivalry between Air France-KLM and Lufthansa for a stake in the new company is reportedly heating up.
With some claiming that CAI will name an airline partner on the 12th of November, two weeks before the final bid deadline on the 30th of November, a clear winner is still to emerge.
Meetings held on Monday were scheduled so that Unions who reluctantly agreed to the bail-out in principle last month can finally sign to a detailed new contract confirming their commitment.
Tuesday will then see CAI meet with all 16 member investors to draw up a finalised bid, as this needs to be submitted before Friday, when their original bid expires.
Local news media have portrayed the suitors Lufthansa and Air France-KLM as both desperate to secure a deal, though it is unknown if alleged “secret” meetings between the consortium and carriers really took place.
What is sure, is that the previously embarrassingly broken airline is now very much in demand, with both Lufthansa and Air France-KLM continuing to express interest in a 20% to 25% stake, while British Airways has expressed it is interested in a commercial partnership– though not an actual stake.
Under the current plan, CAI will merge Alitalia’s assets with that of rival Air One, and relaunch it as a much smaller carrier. Initially set for relaunch early November, this date now looks to be postponed.
Augusto Fantozzi, Alitalia Extraordinary Commissioner has expressed that he hopes the new deal can be confirmed by mid-November, before the cash reserves run dry by December.