German airline Lufthansa has launched a new bid to take a minority stake in Italy’s new national carrier ITA Airways.
Lufthansa said it had submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance on Wednesday (18 January) detailing its plan to agree the purchase of an initial minority shareholding in ITA with options to buy more shares at a later date.
The carrier said it wanted to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Italian government, which would allow further negotiations and discussions to be conducted on an “exclusive basis”.
The Italian government has been looking to sell a stake in ITA, which was established in October 2021 after the closure of legacy carrier Alitalia in August 2021 following years of financial problems.
In early September 2022, the then Italian government announced it has entered into “exclusive talks” with a consortium formed by Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM and US investment fund Certares for the purchase of ITA in preference to a rival bid from Lufthansa and shipping company MSC Group.
Following Italy’s new Meloni government taking power in October, media reports suggested that the Ministry of Economy and Finance had recommenced talks with Lufthansa over ITA.
In today’s statement, Lufthansa said that talks with the Italian government would “primarily focus on the form of a possible equity investment, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa Airline Group, as well as resulting synergies”.
“For Lufthansa Group, Italy is the most important market outside of its home markets and the US,” added the airline. “Italy’s importance for both business and private travel lies in its strong export-oriented economy and status as one of Europe’s top vacation spots.”