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Italian investor Alazraki to discuss Alitalia bid

Italian investor Paolo Alazraki said he wants to discuss a recovery plan for Alitalia, the government-controlled airline, with unions as he leads a group of investors ready to bid for the unprofitable carrier.

After „an agreement with unions and with all of Alitalia SpA's operators and with a good master plan we can” turn the airline around, Alazraki, president of Real Dreams Italy Srl, said today in an interview. The group still hasn't arranged financing for the bid, he said. „When there is a master plan, investors will line up,” he said. Unions representing Alitalia workers have criticized the government for not consulting them on decisions about the airline's future. Investors interested in buying Rome-based Alitalia must submit bids for a stake by January 29, the government said December 29.

„The idea of negotiating with the unions is a winning one,” said Fabrizio Spagna, managing director of Axia Financial Research in Padua, Italy. „Alitalia has huge potential, but the employment issue needs to be tackled in a serious way,” Shares of Alitalia fell as much as 4 cents, or 3.7%, to €1.02, and were down 2.5% at 11:55 a.m. in Milan. The stock has fallen 7.4% over the last 12 months, giving the company a market value of €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion).

Alazraki said he leads a group of 16 investors, including „professionals with at least 15, 20 years of experience in the fields of aviation, banking, corporate finance, customer satisfaction, information technology.” His master plan could turn around the airline in 24 to 36 months, he said. The group started negotiations with a non-European airline that would be interested in partnering with Alitalia if the plan has the unions' support, Alazraki said. Without the unions' support, the group would drop the project, he said. (Bloomberg)