Italy Aims to Pick Preferred Bidder for ITA Airways This Month

Italy's outgoing government is pressing ahead with plans to sell a majority stake in ITA Airways and hopes to choose its preferred bidder by the end of the month, Reuters reported. The government had aimed to complete the part-privatisation of the successor to Alitalia over the summer, but asked the two rival consortia to review their initial offers as it deemed they did not meet its goals. They have until midnight (2200 GMT) on Monday to do so. Shipping group MSC and Germany's Lufthansa are facing a rival bid led by U.S. private equity fund Certares and which is backed by Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc. Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government wants to sign a preliminary agreement with the preferred bidder by Sept. 10, sources said. However, any deal would probably close in the final quarter of the year by which time Italy should have a new government after a national election on Sept. 25, potentially complicating the issue further. MSC and Lufthansa are offering between 850 million euros ($847 million) and 900 million euros for an 80% stake, one of the sources told Reuters. MSC would buy a 60% stake while the German airline would have a 20% stake. Read more.