Alitalia, Lufthansa closer (with Delta waiting)


The last window of opportunity for Lufthansa. And the wait for Delta to understand if from today onwards an auction begins – advocated by the Italian partners – for a company in extraordinary administration for over two and a half years. After yesterday's quarterly board meeting, this morning the German company could formalize the go-ahead for an investment in Alitalia's capital of around 150 million, more than the 100 million made available by Delta to Courier service reiterates the interest in taking 10% of the newco. The conditional on the German moves to obligatory because the Lufthansa green light must deal with two obstacles first: the 48-hour strike of the independent union Ufo (1,300 flights canceled today and tomorrow) and the possible surplus of 500 Austrian Airlines employees, one of the companies in the group.

On the Italian front for several months there is a double table on Alitalia led by Ferrovie dello Stato (with Delta) and assisted by Atlantia (with Lufthansa), precisely to find the best solution. The new 400 million bridge loan linked to the Budget maneuver ensures a further six months of operation for the company, but it is clear that the November 21 deadline for the presentation of the offer cannot be postponed much (it would be the eighth extension), at most a few days. Commissioners Daniele Discepolo, Enrico Laghi and Stefano Paleari heard this in a hearing at the Chamber yesterday. Also because, as Paleari made clear, within this month it will be necessary to file with IATA (the international carrier association, ed) the flight schedules for the summer season 2020 and it is necessary to understand what will be the social structure of Alitalia for next year.

If the ok comes to an equity investment on the part of the Germans there would still be several nodes, to be dissolved in two weeks and net of a relaunch of Delta that in the last hours had to revise its approach after having had to undergo the purchase of its Spanish ally Air Europa by rival IAG , the holding of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus. The first German node concerns redundancies: Lufthansa assumes 5-6 thousand, Fs-Atlantia do not want more than 2,800. The second issue concerns the need for an agreement with the unions before the offer is presented.

The commissioners shed light on the accounts yesterday. In the first half of the year, revenues amounted to 1.44 billion euros (+ 3% on the same period of 2018). Ebitda worsens to -164 million due to the increase in the cost of oil. In 2019, revenues will exceed 3 billion, Paleari estimates. As of 31 October there were 315 million, 5 million more than in September. But 215 million is the half of the advances on tickets sold for future flights.

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