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Business

Alitalia to invite binding takeover offers

In line with an announcement made earlier this month, Italy's troubled carrier Alitalia is starting a full-scale tender process in the hope of finding a suitable buyer. The airline filed for insolvency in May.

Italy's bankrupt airline Alitalia is to launch a bidding process Monday as it looks for binding offers from potential buyers.

The carrier collapsed into administration on May 2 after its employees flatly refused a large-scale restructuring scheme involving wage cuts and layoffs.

Alitalia reported earlier this month it would solicit offers from August 7 until October 2 at the latest. It said those interested could make an offer either for the entire airline or only for its air operations or ground services.

No nationalization plans

The Italian government had made it clear, though, that it would give preference to a complete takeover bid.

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Rome had ruled out nationalization after keeping the troubled carrier afloat with over 600 million euros ($708 million), the Financial Times reported. It added that the government might decide to keep a stake in the airline, "depending on the outcome of the sale process."

Low-cost European carrier Ryanair had been one of several companies that had expressed an interest and already made a non-binding offer for Alitalia's assets, the Irish airline's financial head, Neil Sorahan, confirmed in August.

"We're the largest carrier in Italy, so we're very serious about anything to do with Italy," Sorahan said in a statement.

Alitalia has not turned a profit since 2002. It had been on the brink of collapse three times within the past 10 years. Privatized back in 2008, it has since lost more than 2.5 billion euros.

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hg/jd (dpa, AFP, FT)

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