Lufthansa targets 20% stake in ITA Airways-source

FRANKFURT, May 24 (Reuters) – German Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) wants to acquire a 20% stake in Italian state-owned airline ITA Airways, successor to Alitalia, and its partner MSC is a candidate for 60%, a person familiar with the case told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Italian state would retain the remaining 20% ​​initially, the source said. The Lufthansa-MSC duo made its offer on Monday to acquire a majority stake in ITA.

MSC, also known as Mediterranean Shipping Group, has filed an offer with Lufthansa and is awaiting next steps, a company spokesperson said, declining to comment further.

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Italy’s treasury did not respond to a request for comment on the sale process after Monday’s bid deadline.

MSC and Lufthansa face a competing bid from US financial investor Certares, which works with Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N).

Delta confirmed on Tuesday that it would not be a financial investor in ITA, but said in a statement that it would seek to build on an existing business partnership with ITA.

Air France-KLM declined to comment on ITA on Tuesday.

It launched a 2.26 billion euro ($2.4 billion) share sale to shore up its balance sheet and repay some French state aid, bringing it closer to repaying government pandemic aid and meeting European Union conditions to participate in any future airline consolidation. Read more

According to Italian media, the successor to Alitalia was worth around 1 to 2 billion euros. A Lufthansa spokesperson would not comment on the figures.

A decision is expected in the coming weeks as to which of the two groups of bidders will be invited to launch exclusive negotiations. Italy aims to complete a sale by the end of June.

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Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, Zuzanna Szymanska, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Jonathan Saul and Giuseppe Fonte Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Miranda Murray and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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