MSC pulls out of ITA Airways privatisation

MSC pulls out of ITA Airways privatisation

Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has told Italian authorities it has renounced the purchase of ITA Airways.

MSC presented an offer for the Italian public airline in partnership with German airline Lufthansa last January.

In a recent statement, the group said it “has already informed the competent authorities that it is no longer interested in participating in the privatisation of ITA Airways, not recognising the conditions in the current procedure”.

MSC, led by Gianluigi Aponte, had initially seen the investment as a way of expanding beyond its cruise and container shipping business.

With Lufthansa, it proposed to take over 20 per cent and 60 per cent of ITA Airways respectively, leaving 20 per cent of the shares to the Italian Ministry of Economy – which currently controls 100 per cent of the company.

The offer, set at €850 million ($872.6 million), was initially rejected in favour of an advanced proposal by the US fund Certares, with the commercial partnership of the airlines Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM.

On 31 August, the government led by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had decided to start exclusive negotiations with the latter, but with the inauguration of the new government led by PM Giorgia Meloni operations had been interrupted.

In October, MSC announced its interest in another Italian company with an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of towage operator Rimorchiatori Mediterranei S.p.A.

The purchase will be conducted from Rimorchiatori Riuniti and a fund managed by DWS’s Infrastructure Investment business. Deal terms have not been disclosed.

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