Lufthansa cautious on Alitalia deal, wants restructuring

German airline's expertise needed says CEO Spohr

(ANSA) - Rome, November 7 - Carsten Spohr, CEO of German airline Lufthansa, said on Thursday the airline's requirements for an investment in Italian airline Alitalia include a newco and a restructuring, and that Lufthansa's expertise would permit a restructuring.
    "We believe the overlap of the Alitalia market makes business agreements more appealing," he said, adding that "people in the current ownership need to be taken out before we can consider ourselves committed".
    Last Thursday Lufthansa wrote a letter to Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) rail group on FS's handling of the Alitalia rescue, enclosing a copy to the industry ministry, in which it said it was ready to consider a "major investment" in a restructured Alitalia, but this investment is subordinated on "preconditions", according to a copy of the letter seen by sources.
    FS, the economy ministry, motorway group Atlantia and Delta Airlines of the US have been engaged in the Alitalia turnaround so far.
    Alitalia Special Commissioner Enrico Laghi said during an hearing in the Lower House on Wednesday that State owned FS has announced it has "arranged a few new partners for the new company" while talks with Lufthansa are ongoing.
    The partners to take over the troubled airline - highway operator Atlantia and the economy ministry - have been identified along with industrial partner Delta airlines, Laghi said, unless "an ongoing in-depth analysis that it is carrying out with Lufthansa" leads to something new.
    FS now has to take a position on the industrial partner.
    Meanwhile Stefano Paleari, another one of the three commissioner running the carrier, said Alitalia's revenues grew 3% in the first semester of the year compared to the first semester of 2018 and 7.7% on the first semester of 2017, thanks to long-haul flights.