The Italian government has begun the search for a new majority shareholder for Alitalia’s successor, ITA Airways.
After failing to sell debt-laden Alitalia, the government established ITA Airways and now owns a 100 percent share in the nascent airline.
Because ITA Airways is not encumbered by Alitalia’s historic debt, Rome believes it will be much easier to locate an investor. However, the airline has kept the right to change its name to Alitalia.
A joint offer from Lufthansa and shipping company MSC Group is one of the front runners to purchase a stake in ITA. Last month, ITA and Lufthansa and MSC agreed to a 90-day exclusivity period while they investigated the feasibility of their offer.
The MSC Group, often known as the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is a multinational shipping company with a presence in 155 countries.
With a fleet of 600 vessels and 100,000 personnel, it remains a privately owned corporation in the hands of the ultra-wealthy Aponte family.
The Geneva-based firm has stated that it would prefer to have greater influence over the airline than Lufthansa, which might still give technical assistance.
Delta Air Lines was also courted by ITA, but the Atlanta-based carrier has already stated that it is not interested in bidding for the company.