Rome

Air France vying with Lufthansa for Alitalia (2)

Also Cerberus Fund

Air France vying with Lufthansa for Alitalia (2)

Rome, January 12 - Air France and the Cerberus Fund have said they will vie with Lufthansa for Italy's ailing former national carrier Alitalia. Air-France-KLM said it was ready to put in a rival bid for the troubled Italian airline, alongside EasyJet. Meanwhile Alitalia's commissioners are set to meet representatives of the US Cerberus investment fund in New York today. Lufthansa said earlier this week it would only consider taking over Alitalia if "major" restructuring including job and route cuts were made. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr sent a letter to Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda telling him that the German airline would only be willing to acquire Alitalia after major restructuring. "While recognising the valuable measures that have been undertaken to date... we strongly believe that there remains a considerable amount of work to be achieved before Lufthansa would be in the position to enter comprehensively into the next phase of the process," Spohr said in the letter. Under Lufthansa control the company would be smaller in terms of both staff and fleet, it said. Alitalia was put into extraordinary administration last year after workers voted against a restructuring plan. Calenda has said the government is considering three offers for the former flag carrier. Also Thursday, the European Commission said it was eyeing a 600 million bridge loan the Italian government gave Alitalia in April 2017, later boosted by 300 million more, after complaints from major rivals that it broke market regulations against state aid. Brussels is reportedly in contact with Italian authorities over the 900-euro loan. The EC is awaiting notification from the Italian government so it can start assessing the case, they said.

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