Hope to seal Alitalia deal in 3-4 weeks (3)

Earnings up 1% in Jan - Gubitosi

(ANSA) - Brussels, december 5 - The government hopes to clinch a deal with a buyer for Alitalia in "three or four weeks," Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said Tuesday.
    He said "the real offers are arriving in these days and these hours" with "interesting proposals fo development and not only for violent restructuring".
    Delrio did not say who the potential buyers might be.
    Extraordinary Commissioner Luigi Gubitosi said Alitalia was looking at a 1% rise in earnings by January.
    Delrio said Tuesday there was "absolutely" no need to extend a bridge loan for Alitalia in order to help the ailing former national flag carrier find a buyer. "There is no need as of today, for the assessments we can make today there is absolutely no need" to extend the loan, Delrio said in Brussels.
    Extraordinary Commissioner Gubitosi said recently that the airline still had most of the bridge loan granted by the government when it went into administration earlier this year.
    As a result, there is no rush to find a new owner, Gubitosi said.
    "(On November 20) Alitalia had 849.6 million euros (of the 900 million bridge loan)," Gubitosi said at the Biztravel forum.
    He said talks for a takeover were being held "with a few bodies".
    "We are not in a rush to wrap things up, because being solid, stable and strong enables us not to have to close in a hurry," he said.
    "That does not mean that we will not close as soon as possible.
    "We have the luxury of being able to select the best offer".
    Four days earlier Delrio commented on the talks to find a new owner for Alitalia, without specifically mentioning Lufthansa, which has expressed an interest in the troubled Italian airline.
    "Geopolitics exists," Delrio said.
    "The Germans are pursuing their own interests and I say that with total respect.
    "You can't act is if not having a national company did not matter. The pacts must be clear", he said.