Seeking Stakes in an Insolvent Alitalia

Losing a reported €2 million a day, after burning through a €300 million loan from the Italian government, the troubled airline sought bankruptcy protection. Others are circling, looking to take pieces of the carrier.

The government worked to create a new airline from the ashes of the old. Roberto Colaninno who controls Piaggio, the world’s fourth largest producer of motor scooters and motorcycles would chair the new airline. As the process moves forward, it is expected that more profitable parts of Alitalia would move to the country’s smaller airline, Air One.

With total liquidation of the airline the only alternative option, according to the government, the nine major Alitalia unions are faced with job losses. Union objections sank a bid by Air France-KLM (AF-KLM) in April to rescue the airline. This time the unions have indicated some willingness to negotiate on the government’s rescue plan.

Meanwhile, Air France-KLM is back in the purchase picture. The combined airline currently owns 2% of Alitalia. AF-KLM is looking to purchase those parts of Alitalia that don’t move if the consortium is successful in its efforts. It is thought that Alitalia Cargo operations would not move to the new airline.

AF-KLM is not alone in seeking a stake in what will remain. Lufthansa is reported to be competing with AF-KLM to become a strategic partner with a reorganized Alitalia. British Airways is said to be monitoring the situation, as well.

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