Poste Italiane may delay Etihad – Alitalia deal

Victoria
By Victoria July 22, 2014 10:41

Poste Italiane may delay Etihad – Alitalia deal

The state-owned Italian postal service Poste Italiane has declared that it will only invest more money in Alitalia if it avoids taking on the airline’s past liabilities. The condition will interfere with Alitalia’s rescue deal with Etihad Airways that is currently being finalized, in which Etihad will purchase a 49% stake in Alitalia.

Poste Italiane is Alitalia’s second-largest shareholder, with a near-20% stake; it invested €75 million in Alitalia late last year as part of a €500 million government-engineered rescue package to maintain Alitalia while it sought a foreign investor.

Local media quoted a source that said: “The move is a big obstacle to an agreement because Poste has the same duties as other shareholders.”

As part of the Etihad deal, all shareholders are being asked to participate pro rata in a €200 million euro share issue to cover any losses Alitalia is likely to make before the deal is finalised, and to pay for any past liabilities.
Etihad stated last week it expected to conclude the deal this month, though the deadline may be extended. Alitalia risks having to ground its aircraft unless an agreement with Etihad can be pushed through.

Poste Italiane’s past investment in Alitalia is already subject to an EU investigation as to whether it complied with state aid rules, and the new conditions it is attempting to impose will likely anger other Alitalia shareholders, particularly Italy’s top two banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, who are already carrying the burden of restructuring large parts of the airline’s debts.

Victoria
By Victoria July 22, 2014 10:41
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