The German airline Lufthansa has agreed to take over 40% of the Italian Ita Airways, until now owned by the Italian State after the liquidation of the old Alitalia, according to local media reports today. The newspaper “Il Corriere della Sera” anticipates that the agreement will be signed tomorrow, Thursday, although sources from the Italian Ministry of Economy, owner of all of Ita’s shares, prefer not to confirm the operation.
The agreement provides for Lufthansa to buy 40% of the shares of the old Alitalia and then, in a second moment, increase its participation to 90%, according to the newspaper. The newspaper “La Repubblica” however points out that Lufthansa will take over all of Ita within two years. The German group launched on January 18 an offer for a minority stake in the Italian ITA Airways with the option to acquire the rest later.
On March 30, both airlines agreed on a joint industrial plan that the Italian Economy Minister, Giancarlo Giorgetti, defined as “one more step towards industrial collaboration between the two companies.” That same day Giorgetti met in Rome with the CEO of Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr, and with the president of Ita, Antonino Turicchi, to illustrate this plan and its fleet forecasts, connections and strategic and development objectives. ITA Airways was founded in October 2021 as a separate airline from its predecessor, Alitalia, which was dismantled after years of trying to avoid bankruptcy.
Since then, the Ministry of the Economy, the sole shareholder of Ita Airways, has sought an economic partner for it, until at the beginning of February it was revealed that Lufthansa intended to buy 40% of ITA for between 250 and 300 million euros. Previously, various aviation and transport giants tried to take over a part of the Italian airline, but ended up backing down.
This was the case of Air France-KLM, which refused to submit an offer after considering the acquisition of the company for months, as well as the Italian-Swiss shipping group MSC, which did the same. And before that, the Italian government interrupted exclusive negotiations with a consortium made up of the US fund Certares and the airlines Delta and Air France.
The operation has been studied by the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a bilateral meeting at the recent G7 in Hiroshima. Last Thursday Giorgetti declared himself “optimistic” with the purchase operation, after more than five months of negotiations.