Saturday, 29 December 2012

Alitalia Denies Tie-up With Italian Rail Company

Alitalia, still reeling from financial troubles in 2008, denied media speculation about a possible tie-up with Italian state rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato.
"Since rumours continue to appear on the front pages of newspapers, we are forced to utterly and strongly deny any idea of an agreement between Alitalia and Ferrovie dello Stato," Alitalia said in a statement. "No such plan is being considered."
On Sunday Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Ferrovie dello Stato was considering investing in Alitalia as part of an eventual turnaround plan that would involve an industrial partnership with Air France-KLM.
Alitalia returned to profit in the third quarter after reporting losses in the first half, but it is losing ground to high-speed train operators such as Ferrovie dello Stato and private newcomer Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori.
Alitalia is owned by CAI, a consortium of investors that bought the then-bankrupt airline in 2008. CAI is partly owned by Air France-KLM. Alitalia's shareholders can exercise options to trade their shares when a lock-up period ends in January.
In May, Air France said it would probably wait until at least 2014 before using its option to take control of Alitalia, in which it has held 25 percent since January 2009.
Alitalia booked net profit of EUR€27 million (USD$35.7 million) in the third quarter, down from EUR€70 million the previous year. A protracted recession in Italy is also hurting demand.
Net debt rose to EUR€923 million at the end of September, up by EUR€61 million from the end of June.

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