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Old November 20th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #101
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Italy's AirOne proposes merger with Alitalia - report
20 November 2006

MILAN (AFX) - The chairman of Italian airline AirOne, Carlo Toto, has proposed to government members a plan to merge AirOne with Alitalia SpA, daily Corriere della Sera said in an unsourced report.

Under the plan, AirOne would sell to Alitalia options on at least sixty A320 Airbus jets, making a capital gain of about 300 mln eur, it said.

According to the newspaper, the capital gain would be paid in newly issued Alitalia shares, making AirOne Alitalia's largest shareholder.

The merged group would have a 70 pct domestic market share and would have to sell a number of slots for antitrust reasons, it said.

Deputy economy minister Vincenzo Visco, economic development minister Pierluigi Bersani, and foreign minister Massimo D'Alema favour the plan, it said.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 05:19 AM   #102
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Italian Govt Mulls Range Of Plans For Alitalia
27 November 2006

MILAN (MF-Dow Jones)--Industry Minister Pierluigi Bersani Monday said the Italian government is examining a range of options, including airline tie-ups, as it seeks to hammer out a rescue plan for struggling state-owned airline Alitalia SpA (AZA.MI).

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Milan, Bersani also said the 49.9% state-owned airline was open to "all possible partners" but would need to consider the merits of any business plans that might be put forward by interested parties.

Bersani also pointed out that possible Italian partners shouldn't be excluded from the talks.

"In the dialogue process, Italian industrial services or financial candidates shouldn't be ruled out," he said.

During the weekend Bersani expressed doubts about the potential for a partnership between Alitalia and Air France-KLM (3112.FR), after the Franco-Dutch company's chief executive last Thursday said exploratory talks about a tie-up between the two companies were under way.

Monday he stressed that any potential tie-up would need to be undertaken from the basis of Alitalia's succeeding in strengthening its own financial base after years of losses.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 05:37 PM   #103
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Alitalia unsure when int'l tie-up will be possible

ROME, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Alitalia's CEO Giancarlo Cimoli said on Wednesday that it was still unclear when Italy's largest airline would finally clinch a tie-up with a "big international group," although this was the only option.

"When this integration will be possible, we're not able today to say. But the future of Alitalia must be in this direction," Cimoli told a parliamentary commission.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 05:35 PM   #104
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Friday December 1, 8:55 PM
Italy Plans to Sell Down Alitalia Stake
AP

The Italian government announced plans Friday to sell down its 49.9 percent stake in cash-strapped Alitalia SpA as part of its efforts to turn around the nation's flagship airline.

The government is seeking international alliances to try to secure Alitalia's future, and has promised a turnaround plan by the end of January.

A government statement said new shareholders are needed to relaunch the airline. Silvio Sircana, a spokesman for Prime Minister Romano Prodi, said the government had not yet determined how many shares it would sell.

The Italian stock exchange suspended trading in Alitalia shares pending the announcement from the company. They were up 1.2 percent at 86 euro cents ($1.13) when trading was halted.

Alitalia has reported widening losses due to higher fuel costs, competition from low-cost carriers and the impact of a series of strikes.

CEO Giancarlo Cimoli told a parliamentary committee this week that integrating Alitalia into a big international group is its only hope for survival.

Alliance talk has centered on Air France-KLM, with which Alitalia already has a small cross-shareholding. But Prodi has expressed concerns and Italian Industry Minister Pierluigi Bersani said last week that he didn't see that alliance as an optimal deal.

Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta said last week that exploratory talks between the two companies were under way, but insists Alitalia must improve its finances before partnering with another airline.

Other potential partners are German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Thai Airways International PCL, Air China and Emirates Airline.

Alitalia, which hasn't posted a profit in the last four years, on Tuesday reported a 6.3 percent decrease in net debt to 937 million euros ($1.2 billion) in October from 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in September.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 03:39 AM   #105
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Lufthansa has no current plans to take stake in Alitalia

FRANKFURT, Dec 1, 2006 (AFP) - German flag carrier Lufthansa has no plans at present to take a stake in its Italian rival Alitalia, a spokeswoman said Friday after the Italian government announced plans to sell a controlling stake in its national airline.

"We've nothing in the pipeline," the spokeswoman said after Milan said it would sell a stake in Alitalia via "a competitive procedure and direct negotiations."

However, the Lufthansa spokeswoman refused to confirm or deny the general possibility of the German airline taking a stake in the troubled Italian carrier.

"You never know what will happen in the coming weeks," she said.

The Italian government still holds a 49.9-percent in Alitalia, which last week revealed it had begun tentative talks on a possible tie-up with Air France-KLM, but the French airline has laid down restructuring of Alitalia as a condition for any deal.

Alitalia and Air France-KLM have already exchanged 2.0 percent of the shares in each of their companies, but Alitalia chief executive Giancarlo Cimoli said he was also exploring possible solutions with other partners.

On Thursday, Lufthansa declined to comment on a possible tie-up with rival Spanish airline Iberia, which had also indicated that it was open to closer ties with other airlines.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 04:16 AM   #106
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New Alitalia rescue effort favors major Italian investor

MILAN, Dec 5, 2006 (AFP) - The Italian government plans to sell at least 30.1 percent of national flag carrier Alitalia, with conditions that appear to favor a big Italian investor rather than a foreign competitor.

The latest plan to rescue the loss-making airline triggers an Italian law that would require a potential buyer to bid for the whole company, according to a surprise announcement by the economy ministry on Tuesday.

The tender will probably be launched by the end of this year, the economy ministry said.

The Italian state, which currently owns 49.9 percent of Alitalia, had announced Friday that it intended to cede control in the company, but it was expected to sell off half of its stake.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi commented: "We spoke of ceding a majority share, and 30.1 percent constitutes a majority (of the government stake). It seemed to me fair to state the figure."

The ministry announced selection criteria that seemed aimed at discouraging speculation.

The tender would require commitments to provide services throughout Italy and to maintain the national identity, insignia and brand of the airline, the ministry said, adding that it would require a "detailed industrial plan."

Trading in shares in Alitalia had been suspended pending the statement after showing a fall of 0.7 percent to 0.95 euros. But that trend was reversed when trading resumed, and the share price closing up more than 6.0 percent at 1.02 euros on the Milan stock exchange.

Alitalia said recently it had begun exploratory talks with Air France-KLM on a possible alliance. But the French airline has consistently maintained that any tie-up would be conditional on a restructuring of the Italian company.

Italian press reports have also speculated on possible interest in Alitalia from a consortium grouping Italian investors such as the head of the carrier Air One, Carlo Toto, in conjunction with Banca Intesa.

Another consortium headed by Italian businessman Carlo De Benedetti could also make a move for Alitalia.

The reports said the level of employment guarantees sought by the Italian government could prove crucial to attracting takeover candidates, notably from outside Italy.

Alitalia suffered financial losses in eight of the 10 years to 2005, and is this year forecasting a shortfall surpassing the 167 million euros (214 million dollars) it reported in 2005.

In the first nine months of 2006 the airline recorded a pre-tax loss of 276 million euros, against 168 million in the same period of 2005.

The Italian government saved Alitalia from bankruptcy in 2004, and last year began implementing a restructuring plan that called for 3,700 job cuts and a capital increase of one billion euros covered by a group of banks and the state.

But the plan triggered resistance from unions. Labor relations have soured over recent months, with the company demanding more flexibility from the workforce, which for its part accuses management of reneging on commitments.

Such disputes have further tarnished the company's image, already hurt by abrupt flight cancellations, flight delays and missing baggage.

Prodi warned in October that Alitalia would go bankrupt unless a rescue plan were put in place within three months, describing company finances "completely out of control".

He said: "Alitalia is undergoing the most difficult period of its history. ... The situation is completely out of control, and I see no parachute.

"We have until the end of January to find a solution and avoid bankruptcy."

Prodi's office also issued a statement that it would place priority on "seeking strategic international alliances" in the bid to rescue the company.

The possibility of an alliance with Air France-KLM appears to be fading however because of the conditions posed by the French-Dutch airline, whose leaders say there are hard choices to make -- notably as to whether to drop or limit operations of one of the airline's two hubs, Milan and Rome.

They also question the insistence on continuing losing routes.

On the other hand, Air France boss Jean-Cyril Spinetta promised that an alliance would not lead to cuts in Alitalia's 10,050-strong workforce, and that its brand would be maintained.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #107
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Alitalia could leave Sky Team alliance: minister

PARIS, Dec 11, 2006 (AFP) - The financially troubled Italian airline Alitalia could end its commercial ties to Air France and the Sky Team alliance, Italian Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi said in an interview published Monday.

He told the newspaper La Tribune that a 200-million-euro (264-million-dollar) penalty for breaking ties to Air France would not affect a decision to leave.

Alitalia and Air France-KLM have exchanged two percent of the shares in each of their companies and are also members of Sky Team, a commercial arrangement that groups 10 international airlines.

The Italian government has a stake of 49.9 percent in Altialia but last week said it wanted to sell at least 30.1 percent of the airline, with a requirement that a buyer bid for the whole company.

"Air France would like to buy Alitalia at the lowest possible price to make it a regional company, with operations limited to Paris-Rome, Paris-Milan and domestic flights," Bianchi said.

But he added that "a buyer will have to tell us that the company must re-capture its dominance on the internal market, at a level of 70 to 80 percent ... and also that Alitalia will develop its international routes."
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Old December 13th, 2006, 03:45 AM   #108
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Rivals should join forces with Alitalia-Italy min

BRUSSELS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Italian domestic rivals should consider joining forces with the country's largest airline, Alitalia , Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi said on Tuesday.

"It wouldn't be a bad idea if two or three ... important Italian airlines (joined) together ... in an agreement to reach a critical mass," Bianchi told reporters in Brussels, adding this was only his personal view.

The government hopes to sell at least 30.1 percent of the carrier, whose losses are expected to top 200 million euros this year. Italian regulations would force any bidder for more than a 30 percent stake to make all-cash bid for the entire airline.

Air One, Alitalia's closest rival, has not commented on whether it would be interested in the stake.

"It's no use to have investment funds that come in, buy it and sell it two months later. We want entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs must be found," Bianchi said.

He said Prime Minister Romano Prodi himself is eyeing Alitalia's future alliances, something which Bianchi said will be determined after the stake sale.

Bianchi told a French paper in an interview published on Monday that fines would not prevent Alitalia from severing its ties with Air France-KLM and the Skyteam alliance, if it decides to do so.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 05:19 PM   #109
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Italian entrepreneur says he's ready to buy stake in failing Alitalia
13 December 2006

MILAN, Italy -- An entrepreneur who founded the Tod's shoe brand said Wednesday he would be prepared to buy a stake in airline Alitalia SpA, an Italian news agency reported.

Diego Della Valle is the first Italian businessman to respond to the government's plan to sell a stake of at least 30 percent in the cash-strapped airline.

"If a group of Italian entrepreneurs is going to join forces to make a bid for the company, I would consider playing a role," Della Valle said, according to the MF-Dow Jones news agency.

Under the government's offer, any potential buyer must come up with a recovery plan for the airline, guarantee jobs, national routes and Alitalia's national identity and brand.

Alitalia shares were trading down 0.2 percent at €.99 (US$1.30) on the Milan stock exchange.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #110
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No payroll target for Alitalia buyer, govt says

ROME, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Italy's government has not set a precise target for the number of workers it wants to see remain on Alitalia's payroll following the privatisation of the loss-making airline next year, the economy minister said on Monday.

"On employment, it's not been said that there will be precise obligations," Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa said.

"It's obvious that the entrepeneurs who will make bids should present an industrial plan that takes into account the state of Alitalia's work force."

The government is due to soon launch a tender process to sell at least 30.1 percent of Alitalia shares, giving up its controlling 49.9 percent stake and forcing the buyer to make a full takeover bid.

The Treasury has stated that a buyer would have contractual obligations including "offering adequate service and territorial coverage, employment levels and keeping the firm's national identity, logo and brand."

Investors fear they may not get a free hand to restructure the loss-making airline, and two prominent businessmen said last week they were not interested in bidding for Alitalia.

Padoa-Schioppa said Alitalia's privatisation process would be completed over a six-month period.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 09:41 AM   #111
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Italian government publishes Alitalia privatization details
29 December 2006

ROME (AP) - Potential buyers for Alitalia must guarantee the airline's 18,000 jobs, national routes and the Italian identity of the Alitalia brand, the Economy Ministry said Friday.

The ministry, in a document published on its Web site, said expressions of interest for its stake in the struggling flag carrier must be presented by Jan. 29. Buyers must have minimum capital of 100 million euros ($131.73 million).

The government is seeking an investor or group of investors to buy at least a 30.1 percent stake in the airline as it sells down its 49.9 percent share. It has not been determined exactly how great a stake the government will retain.

Alitalia shares closed up 6.15 percent at 1.05 euros ($1.38) on the Milan stock exchange.

The Italian government reiterated it would pick the winning bid based on its economic offer and the ability of its industrial plan to "develop and relaunch" the ailing airline.

Alitalia has reported widening losses mainly blamed on higher fuel costs, competition from low-cost carriers and the impact of a series of strikes. CEO Giancarlo Cimoli said last month that integrating Alitalia into a big international group is its only hope for survival.

Unions oppose Alitalia's privatization and planned another 24-hour strike for Jan. 19.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:26 AM   #112
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Italian minister against Air France takeover of Alitalia

ROME, Jan 2, 2007 (AFP) - Italian Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi said Tuesday he "would not be happy" with a takeover by Air France of Italian airline Alitalia but he would not intervene to prevent it.

Asked on Italian radio station Radio 24 about a bid by Air France, he said he feared that "a large European company would buy Alitalia to turn it into a regional company by claiming for itself the large passengers flows and the big hubs".

Referring to a takeover by the French group, he added: "In conclusion, I would not be happy with it, but I would adapt to it."

The Italian government offically invited bids for the acquisition of state-controlled Alitalia on December 29 under a plan that could see the state's total disengagement from the troubled airline.

The buyer would have to bid for a stake of between 30.1 and 49.9 percent of the company, with bidders set a deadline of January 29 to put forward their offers.

Air France-KLM has frequently been mooted as the most likely partner for loss-making Alitalia, given existing links between the airlines, but the French company has insisted that it would only bid following the restructuring of Alitalia.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:30 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Italian government publishes Alitalia privatization details
29 December 2006

ROME (AP) - Potential buyers for Alitalia must guarantee the airline's 18,000 jobs, national routes and the Italian identity of the Alitalia brand, the Economy Ministry said Friday.
What private company is going to accept those regulations?

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 09:28 AM   #114
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nothing to worry about, such problems occur with all countries' airlines
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Old January 4th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #115
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nothing to worry about, such problems occur with all countries' airlines
no.

AirFrance was profiltable before it merged
KLM was profitable before it merged
IBeria is profitable
British Airways ir porfitable.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #116
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Possible Alitalia bidder to meet unions - source

ROME, Jan 3 (Reuters) - A group interested in bidding for control of Alitalia has sought a meeting with Italy's airline unions next week to discuss a plan to salvage the airline, a union source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The meeting was requested through a letter from a Milan law firm representing the group of financial investors and an airline sector entrepreneur whose identity is not known, the source said.

But a non-union source downplayed the meeting, and said the group was not interested in bidding for Alitalia but rather was keen on being involved in Italy's airline sector in a possible consulting role. No date has been set for the meeting, the source said.

Italy opened the bidding process for the loss-making airline last week as the government looks to unload at least 30.1 percent of its 49.9 percent stake.

When Rome first announced it would sell down its stake, Italian newspapers were rife with speculation that Italian entrepreneurs could form a consortium to bid for the airline.

But since then, two prominent Italian businessmen -- Alessandro Benetton, vice chairman of the Benetton Group and Carlo De Benedetti, owner of L'Espresso publishing group -- have denied any interest in such a move.

Analysts have also speculated on possible bids by rivals like smaller Italian carrier Air One and longtime potential suitor Air France KLM , but no leading contenders have emerged so far.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #117
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no.

AirFrance was profiltable before it merged
KLM was profitable before it merged
IBeria is profitable
British Airways ir porfitable.
It's better to say:

AF was unprofitable untill the government sold it
KL had to merge with AF due to the continuous loss of money
IB is bleeding money every minute that God's gives to the world
BA is a little bit profitable, but without cash, that means that it could become suddently unprofitable
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Old January 18th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #118
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Air France CEO quits Alitalia board, spurs bid hopes
By Alberto Sisto and Deepa Babington

ROME, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The head of Air France-KLM has resigned from the board of Alitalia , allowing the French airline to keep its options open on a possible bid for the unprofitable Italian flag carrier.

Air France-KLM Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta's departure pushed Alitalia shares up as much as 3 percent, though bankers cautioned the move may more likely reflect the airline's desire to give itself maximum flexibility.

"I think the Italians overestimate the importance of Alitalia to Air France-KLM," a senior French banker said. "In a way, things might have to get worse and really hit bottom before it's the right time to get involved."

Elsewhere the Alitalia sale scenario was brightened by unions calling off a strike planned for Friday, after the Italian government agreed to meet them to discuss the airline's privatisation.

Air France, with a 2 percent stake in Alitalia, has long been considered a possible buyer but has given no sign of being in any hurry to do so, despite political pressure from Rome to declare its hand and a public nudge from French President Jacques Chirac to work more closely.

The Franco-Dutch carrier has repeatedly said no deal would be possible until the Italian carrier turns itself around.

Shares in Alitalia closed up 2.1 percent at 1.059 euros after rising 3 percent in heavy volume earlier in the day.

Spinetta's departure left Alitalia's board effectively dissolved, because its statutes stipulate the board must have at least half its normal capacity of five members to be functional. Alitalia said it would hold a shareholder meeting to name a new board by the end of February.

The current board was due to convene on Friday but that meeting was cancelled as it is now left with just two members, CEO Giancarlo Cimoli and Treasury representative Giovanni Sabatini. Gabriele Checchia resigned this week from the board after accepting the post of Italy's ambassador to Lebanon.

NO QUICK ALLIANCE

Spinetta had held a seat on the board since 2002 after the two airlines struck a code-sharing and cross-shareholding deal.

"Since there is a bidding process launched by the Italian government and given that Air France-KLM is a business partner of Alitalia, its CEO cannot be part of the board anymore," the French airline said in a statement.

A senior source close to Air France-KLM said recently it would not be bounced into a quick alliance with Alitalia and welcomed the start of exploratory talks last November as a chance to cool off some of the pressure for a rapid tie-up.

Alitalia has not posted an annual profit since 2002. Last year it lost money at the rate of 600,000 euros a day, and it suffers from frequent strikes and a bloated workforce. Italy's government last month put it up for sale after repeated rescue attempts over the years failed to turn the airline around.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said last week he saw merits in an Air France purchase of Alitalia but expressed doubts on whether the deal would happen. He expressed surprise on Wednesday over Spinetta's departure and said Alitalia's sale should continue transparently without any interference.

Prodi's government has said it wants to sell at least 30.1 percent of the airline, which would force a buyer to launch a full offer. It has set a Jan. 29 deadline for bidders to express interest in Alitalia.

No leading candidates have emerged to buy Alitalia so far, with the bidding process largely drawing tentative interest from investment banks and private equity funds.

Private equity fund Management & Capitali , founded by Italian entrepreneur Carlo De Benedetti, has said it is considering a possible bid, while investment bank Rothschild [ROT.UL] is looking to put together a consortium to bid for the airline, according to a source.

Another turnaround shop -- Atlantis Capital Special Situations -- said on Wednesday it was considering putting together a possible deal for the airline. (Additional reporting by Tim Hepher and Jean-Michel Belot in Paris, with Lisa Jucca, Massimo Gaia and Jo Winterbottom in Milan and Robin Pomeroy in Rome)
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Old January 29th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #119
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Who will take over loss-making Alitalia? Preliminary bids due

ROME, Jan 29, 2007 (AFP) - Preliminary bids were due Monday for Italy's flagship airline Alitalia, which was 380 million euros (490 million dollars) in the red last year, but potential buyer Air France-KLM was expected to stay mum on its intentions.

While "expressions of interest" are due by 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) Monday, no one is required to make a firm offer and the exercise does not close the door to future bids.

The Italian government, which controls 49.9 percent of the company, is selling a stake worth at least 30.1 percent in order to trigger an automatic bid for the rest of the company under Italian law.

No potential buyer has officially bid for the airline, and Air France-KLM can maintain the suspense another few weeks or more.

"Expressions of interest" received Monday still leave room for a later candidacy since any consortium can open itself to new partners before bids are firmed up.

The process is set to last six months, according to the economy ministry, which is to issue a communique Monday evening.

Press reports said Air France-KLM, Europe's biggest airline, is considering this strategy because it would allow the French-Dutch company to join the race later if a rival such as Lufthansa threw its hat in the ring.

The dire state of Alitalia's finances was apparent in Sunday's revelation of 2006 losses in a report to the stock exchange authority Consob. A year ago, the company had projected that it would break even by now.

Consob requested the report after Alitalia was forced to cancel a board meeting on January 19 because of the resignation of Air France-KLM chief Jean-Cyril Spinetta, effectively dissolving the panel.

The cost of taking over Alitalia is estimated at about 1.5 billion euros, its current stock market capitalisation, plus the cost of renewing its aging fleet of 183 aircraft and assuming its debt of about one billion euros.

In the invitation to tender, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left government set numerous conditions, including that the company maintain its brand and national identity, the cities the airline serves and the size of its work force.

The main liability is the lack of room for maneuver in restructuring the carrier in the face of strong unions ever prepared to stage crippling strikes.

Alitalia said it had enough liquidity to survive "more than 12 months" but confirmed in the statement that it could no longer achieve the targets it set in late 2005 under a plan that enabled the company to obtain one billion euros in new capital.

Among other possible bidders is the Management and Capitali fund of industrialist Carlo de Benedetti, which specialises in turning failing companies around.

The Italian company Air One, a Lufthansa partner, may also show an interest as well as a consortium between the Rothschild investment bank and the private investment firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG), according to Italian press reports.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #120
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Alitalia sale takes off, 2-month timetable seen

MILAN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Alitalia's sale has taken off with a surprising 11 offers, but without key partner Air France, and signs emerged on Tuesday some bidders could quickly drop out in a bid process which one minister said he hoped would be wrapped up in two months.

Most of the interest has come from buyout funds betting on a recovery at Alitalia , which is losing 1 million euros ($1.3 million) a day to labour problems and high fuel costs, but Italy's second-largest bank UniCredit also bid.

Long-time commercial partner Air France-KLM did not express interest by Monday's 1700 GMT deadline, saying conditions were not right for a bid now.

Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi said Air France could still come forward, at the same time as he ruled out one of those who had thrown their hat in the ring -- Fabio Scaccia, a professor who says he doesn't have a penny to his name.

"In this phase, I think being on the sidelines is the wisest decision for (Air France), they are waiting to see what happens," Bianchi told La Stampa newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday, headlined "Air France will arrive".

Bianchi added that Scaccia "will be excluded", because he is an individual and therefore ruled out from the sale.

Industry Minister Pierluigi Bersani said another two months was needed to close the sale, adding in comments quoted by newspapers: "I hope it won't be any longer because the issue is urgent."

Italy, which holds 49.9 percent of Alitalia, is seeking bidders for at least a 30.1 percent stake, forcing any buyer to make an offer for the entire airline.

Those expressing interest by Monday's first deadline included U.S. buyout fund Texas Pacific Group Ventures Inc. [TPG.UL], UniCredit SpA's investment bank arm and Carlo Toto, the head of low-cost Italian airline Air One, the Treasury said in a statement on Monday.

Italian entrepreneur Carlo De Benedetti's Management & Capitali SpA , known for turning companies around, U.S. firm MatlinPatterson Global Advisers and Britain's Terra Firma Investments were also on the list.

Lesser known names were Wonders & Dreams, a company run by Italian financier Paolo Alazraki, and Net Present Value, a group backed by a pilots' association, whose head Massimo Notaro told La Repubblica newspaper they were "sick of seeing temporary managers, who in two or three years ruin the company's value."

The leader of another of the airline's unions, Fabrizio Solari, said late on Monday the expressions of interest "carry different weight and I think the final buyer will be someone that is not on the list."

Italian newspapers were speculating that several of the current players might not stay the course.

Analysts say the issue is also about the price that an eventual bidder might pay for the airline, whose illiquid shares closed at 1.093 euros on Monday.

"You'd have to be very, very brave to pay even a quarter of the current share price," said Mike Powell, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Securities.
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