What will the new Ita Airways be like with the Germans of Lufthansa? "Cost-competitive company" - Corriere.it

What will the new Ita Airways be like with the Germans of Lufthansa?  "Cost-competitive company" - Corriere.it

«Yesterday was an important day for our group: we will become more international and less dependent on a single market». It is with these words that Carsten Spohr, Chief Executive Officer of the Lufthansa Group, the conference call with analysts and international media begins for the presentation of the German investment in Ita Airways. A company, the Italian one, «configured to be competitive in terms of costs and which has no relation to the old Alitalia». Lufthansa will initially enter with 41% by injecting 325 million euros into the capital of Ita. To then rise to 90% and therefore to full control in the following years.

Times won't be very short. "The closing of the transaction between Lufthansa and the Treasury for the sale of a minority stake is expected by the end of this year," Spohr said. Adding that "the acquisition of the entire capital and its timing will depend on the performance that the company will achieve": "We are not obliged to take full control if certain requirements are not met, this investment minimizes the risks", he underlined. In the meantime, the Mef will have to pay the third (and last) installment of 250 million euros to strengthen the liquidity of the Italian company.
Spohr also dedicated a few seconds to the corporate restructuring: when the EU Antitrust has given the go-ahead for entry into Ita, the Germans will be able to "appoint the managing director and another member of the board of directors out of the five in total", he anticipated. When asked by Corriere, the head of the Lufthansa group did not want to give any names in advance, also because he - he clarified - "it is still early". In the coming days, the Treasury will appoint a new Ita board in which the current CEO Fabio Lazzerini is expected to leave.

The head of Lufthansa has listed the commercial and financial benefits of Ita's entry into the group. The strategy envisages "developing Rome Fiumicino, making it a profitable hub, adding it to the others - Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna - and then consolidating Milan Linate thanks to Ita's strong position" in this airport. The Milan city airport is identified as a transit point for premium flows and business travel. As for Fiumicino, Lufthansa aims to use it as a base for flights to America, Africa and "certain Asian markets". China and India are in pole position, as is the Middle East.
Spohr is not bothered by Brussels' demands and objections "even if we know that their decisions are also very political," he remarked. Recalling, however, that «Ita is only the fourth largest company on the Italian market after easyJet and Wizz Air, where Ryanair has a dominant share. With the strengthening of the Italian carrier there will be real competition". The German CEO added that "the EU should worry about the massive share of low cost in Italy".

But how much is it the total investment in Ita? The Courier has revealed that Lufthansa to pay out up to 830 million euros for 100%. To a question on this point Spohr preferred not to answer, recalling the confidentiality of the agreements even if he conceded that "we are thinking of a reduction in the price for the remaining quota". "I'll be honest - he concluded - in this transaction the price was not the key element: its value is strategic, but we think there was a fair balance between economic commitment and possible benefits".

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