EUROPE: Alitalia fails to attract real bids

The Italian government has failedto attract any preliminary bids forbankrupt Alitalia from potential majorairline partners. The only significant internationalbid came from US airline buyout specialistTexas Pacific private investmentfirm – which bought and turned aroundContinental Airlines in the US in 1993with strong attacks on unions. It is part of a group that last monthagreed to buy […]


The Italian government has failedto attract any preliminary bids forbankrupt Alitalia from potential majorairline partners.

The only significant internationalbid came from US airline buyout specialistTexas Pacific private investmentfirm – which bought and turned aroundContinental Airlines in the US in 1993with strong attacks on unions.

It is part of a group that last monthagreed to buy Australia’s Qantas.

Air France-KLM did not make apreliminary bid. It has previously saidthat Alitalia must be privatised and itsfinances strengthened before it willconsider a bid.

Despite claiming a year ago thatit would break even by now, Alitaliaestimated net losses for 2006 would be380 million euros (US$490 m) – twiceas much as the year before.

Alitalia also said that its plan to slashcosts for 2005-2008 was not achievable"at the current stage".

It was forced to report its position tothe stock exchange after it was forcedto cancel a board meeting in January,because of the resignation of AirFrance-KLM chief Jean-Cyril Spinettaleft it without a quorum.

Other registrations came from localbanks and small Italian airlines.

The Italian government, whichcontrols 49.9 percent of the company,is selling a stake worth at least 30.1 percentin order to trigger an automaticbid for the rest of the company underItalian law.

Lufthansa CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuberhas forecast European airlineconsolidation but said it was not underpressure to buy another airline in theforeseeable future after acquiring Swissairtwo years ago.