ROME (Reuters) – Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is heading to Rome to discuss taking a planned stake in ITA-Airways, Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti was quoted as saying by Ansa news agency on Thursday.
Lufthansa declined to comment.
Sources have said the German carrier is negotiating with Rome over the purchase of a 40% stake in the airline valued at around 200 million euros ($220 million), with the idea of buying the rest at a later stage.
ITA, the successor of Italy’s loss-making flagship airline Alitalia, took to the air in 2021 and posted a loss of around 486 million euros last year due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and rising fuel costs.
Lufthansa entered exclusivity talks to buy a significant stake in the company in January. These were subsequently extended beyond an initial deadline of April 24.
The privatisation has proved an headache for the Treasury. Rome has already injected 1.1 billion euros into the airline, and under an agreement with the European Union it was allowed to pay it a last tranche of 250 millions.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)
(Reporting by Angelo Amante in Rome and Ilona Wissenbach in Frankfurt; Editing by Crispian Balmer)