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MSC and Lufthansa bid to buy state-owned Alitalia’s successor

MSC and Lufthansa bid to buy state-owned Alitalia’s successor

SWISS-ITALIAN shipping giant, the Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), and German air carrier Lufthansa want to buy the majority of Alitalia successor ITA Airways and have asked for an exclusivity period of 90 days to study the deal, Reuters reports.

The state-owned Italian airline, which began flying in October last year, is looking for an equity partner and has started informal talks with some potential suitors, in Europe and overseas, its chairman said this month.

MSC said its interest in ITA stemmed from “the possibility of activating positive synergies both in the cargo and the passenger sector”.

If Italian government gives its green light, the board of ITA Airways will examine details of the expression of interest at a future meeting and decide to enter exclusive talks with the two partners, a source close to the matter said. A board meeting to approve ITA business plan is scheduled for January 31.

MSC said it and Lufthansa will decide their respective involvement in the deal after studying financial data of the Italian airline. Last week, ITA chairman Alfredo Altavilla said the carrier posted a negative operating result of EUR170 million (US$192 million) last year. Revenue was less than expected at EUR86 million, while the carrier could count on more than EUR400 million in cash coming from Italian tax payers.

With the record profits carriers, forwarders, integrators and other service providers have seen these last couple of years and with the boon in e-commerce and increased digitalisation, the supply chain industry is seeing a major shake up with the lines between carriers, port operators, forwarders and even e-commerce companies becoming blurred. This quiet initiative by MSC which recently overtook MAERSK as the largest shipping line in the world, is just one such development.

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