MSC goes in for majority stake in ITA, telling ‘the Germans’ to settle for minority share
Shipping giant MSC has made clear it wants a majority stake in the takeover of Italian airline and Alitalia successor ITA Airways, leaving Lufthansa with a minority share of the company.
“The most important thing for us is to have a majority share in ITA Airways. The Germans can come in as a commercial partner or minority shareholder,” Gianluigi Aponte, founder and chairman of MSC Group, told Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.
“We want to manage ITA, otherwise we wouldn’t be going into this deal. We don’t want to be a sleeping partner.”
The chief executive added that, while not looking to change the airline’s management, he would like to sit on ITA’s board.
“We will be part of the board, showcasing our ideas for the group’s development, including achieving synergies between our two businesses.”
Aponte’s comments come a few days after German carrier Lufthansa confirmed that it was having talks with MSC over ITA’s acquisition, telling Reuters the two companies were taking 90 days to explore “all possible options for cooperation, including a possible equity investment.”
The news was welcomed by ITA’s chief executive Alfredo Altavilla, who had been looking for a partner ‘to put money on the table’ and invest in the airline for a few weeks, City A.M. reported.
According to Altavilla, the offer’s logic was “very convincing” and “extremely interesting” but it would be up to MSC and Lufthansa to figure out how to divide the shares.
“That is part of the talks that MSC and Lufthansa will have,” said Altavilla on Tuesday. “Lufthansa’s shares will be determined during the due diligence process.”