July 30, 2021

Italy wants Alitalia to be a new partnership with state and private capital

Italy wants Alitalia to be a new partnership with state and private capital

The Italian government proposed today to transform Alitalia, managed by insolvency administrators since May 2017, into a new company in which the Ministry of Economy holds 15% of its capital and the rest is in the hands of the state company Ferrovie dello Stato and a private partner

The Vice President and Minister of Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, explained that the idea valued by the Executive is to create "a new society, with an initial endowment of between 1,500 and 2,000 million euros", in an interview with the economic newspaper Il Sole 24 Pray.

This new company would be "15% owned by the Ministry of Economy", following the model of the French airline Air France-KLM, in which the French State holds 14.3% of the capital.

The rest would be controlled by Ferrovie dello Stato, a company 100% owned by the Italian State, and by another "important international industrial partner" private, which did not provide details.

It is the umpteenth idea that seeks to give a future to a company that was once the flag carrier of Italy, but that for twenty years is a bottomless pit and a burden for the country, for the losses it generates.

Alitalia, without benefits since 2002, appealed to the State in May 2017 to avoid bankruptcy and it was managed by three insolvency administrators, who in Italy are called commissioners.

In this time, these three managers have looked for a possible buyer of all or part of the business, and airlines such as the German Lufthansa or the British EasyJet had shown public interest, although their offers did not extend.

In this process, the government of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left) gave the company a loan of 900 million euros to guarantee its operation, which the European Commission (EC) investigates to determine if it was illegal state aid and if it meets with European regulations on support for companies in difficulties.

The new Executive, formed by the anti-system Five Star Movement and the ultra-right-wing Liga, refuse to sell it to a foreign company because they believe it would be "malvening" this company, which has been dragging on economic problems for a long time and that was already under insolvency in 2008 .

Di Maio held a meeting with the unions today and told the media that before October 31 there will be a binding interest proposal, or at least serious and concrete.

The new society, he stressed, must "get rid of everything that has not worked so far" and the workers will not see their jobs endangered.

To relaunch the company, in addition to state participation, the government needs to have a private partner to inject money, which according to the media could be the airlines China Eastern or Delta Airlines, although there is no official information about it.

"I think Alitalia is an important company for the economy of the country," said Di Maio, and that is why the Government will work to keep it in Italian hands.

The other Vice President of the Government and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, celebrated this initiative for Alitalia and said that it must be "more competitive and efficient", and "it will not be sold to foreign companies."


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