The Italian government has begun the process of finding a partner for Italian state airline ITA Airways after container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) and German airline Lufthansa expressed their interest last month.
In the first stage of this process, the government will retain a minority stake in ITA Airways, which commenced operations in October 2021 and is the successor company to state-owned Alitalia (which ceased operations in October 2021), Economy Minister Daniele Franco said, according to Reuters.
The government has drafted a decree which lists ways it can offload its holding in the airline, including a direct sale or a public offer, without setting a deadline for a deal.
“There are subjects interested in the operation but we do not have a plan under which we can predetermine the timing,” Franco said during a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
On January 25, Air Cargo News reported that the MSC Group aims to create a partnership with the Italian Government and the German airline Lufthansa.
Both the MSC Group and Lufthansa have expressed the wish that the Italian Government maintains a minority stake in the Company, said ITA Airways in a press release on January 24.
The MSC Group and Lufthansa also requested 90 days of exclusivity to work on this Expression of Interest.
Other suitors may emerge in the coming weeks if ITA opens up to prospective buyers.
ITA Airways is wholly owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and has been active since November 2020.