CAI Offer still stands, German carrier says
Lufthansa today (January 9) said it was stilling in the running to buy a 25% stake in Alitalia.
The claim came after successive reports that Air France KLM had won the battle to buy into the re-vamped Italian carrier.
A spokesman for the German carrier told ABTN: "We have said what we can offer Alitalia and that offer is still open.
"It depends on which way CAI (the new owners of Alitalia) wants to go. Our offer is not closed."
A Lufthansa spokeswoman also told an Italian website today: ''We are not out of the competition."
The spokeswoman said CAI, the consortium of 16 businesses which has just bought the Italian carrier, had still not reached any agreement with Air France KLM.
Reports from Italy over the past two days have indicated that the Air France KLM proposal was favoured by both CAI and the government of Silvio Berlusconi.
But AF KLM also stressed that no deal had been signed and talks were still continuing.
The reports said that Mr Berlusconi had given the go ahead for a deal with the French and Dutch, despite strong pressure from Milan politicians to favour the German airline.
CAI was reported as saying that Mr Berlusconi had come down on the side of the French-Dutch offer, despite earlier being in favour of Lufthansa.
Mr Berlusconi helped block a take over bid by AF-KLM last year because he said he wanted Alitalia to stay in Italian hands.
But CAI and its chairman Roberto Colaninno have favoured AF-KLM, believing that its concept of one major hub in Rome for the re-vamped Alitalia was the right solution.
The Lufthansa solution planned for hubs in both Milan and Rome and was favoured by the Milan-based Northern League.
Its leader Umberto Bossi, who is a member of Mr Berlusconi's coalition, has described the French-Dutch plan as "stupidity."
Under the alleged deal, AF-KLM will pay about €300m for a 25% stake in Alitalia.
Mr Colaninno wants the deal sealed by January 13 when the new Alitalia is re-launched.
Under CAI's control, the carrier has cut both its network and staff and has also been merged with former rival Air One.
www.alitalia.com www.airfrance.com www.lufthansa.com