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AIRLINE

Alitalia shareholders back €300m capital boost

Shareholders in troubled Italian airline Alitalia have given unanimous approval to a capital increase boost of up to €300 million, the company said on Tuesday.

Alitalia shareholders back €300m capital boost
Alitalia continued to run a regular schedule over the weekend. Photo: Leandro Ciuffo/Flickr

Shareholders, including Air France-KLM which currently owns a 25-percent stake, now have 30 days starting on October 16th to decide whether or not they will subscribe to the new shares.

The shareholders meeting also approved a controversial plan for public Poste Italiane to contribute up to €75 million, which has triggered
accusations of protectionism.

They also said banks Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo could take part for up to €100 million.

Alitalia also said its top executives intend to resign once the operation is completed.

The capital increase plan was put together in a hurry under pressure from the government, as energy major ENI threatened to ground the fleet by stopping fuel supplies because of unpaid debts.

Italy has denied that the plan constitutes protectionism and says it will better position Alitalia for an alliance with a foreign partner.

The European Commission has said it is waiting to be formally notified by Italian authorities over the plan to check whether it is state aid.

British Airways' parent company IAG on Monday called on the Commission "to take interim measures to suspend this manifestly illegal aid".

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AIRLINE

Italy insists €3bn cash injection for Alitalia is ‘not another rescue’

The Italian government announced plans on Thursday to inject at least three billion euros ($3.2 billion) into Alitalia to help save it from collapse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy insists €3bn cash injection for Alitalia is 'not another rescue'
Alitalia check-in counters stand empty at Rome's Fiumicino airport during Italy's lockdown. Photo: AFP

Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli told the Senate the money was aimed at turning the struggling company into the national airline it had been throughout much of its 74-year history.

“This is not another rescue,” Italian media quoted Patuanelli as saying. “This is the company's relaunch.”

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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government in March announced plans to renationalise Alitalia as part of a broader economic rescue package.

It then earmarked 500 million euros in support for the entire aviation sector.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and looked doomed in January when it failed to secure rescues from either the Italian state railway or Germany's Lufthansa.

Alitalia's management had asked government administrators in March to allow it furlough 4,000 of its 11,000 employees until more passengers are able, and willing, to fly.

The carrier's main trade union announced an agreement Thursday to suspend about 6,600 employees for seven months.

Patuanelli said government administrators intended to keep Alitalia's current fleet.

“There is no downsizing at the company,” the minister said.

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