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Italy hires Bain & Co. as „industrial” adviser on Alitalia sale

Italy has hired Bain & Co. as an „industrial” adviser on the sale of its stake in Alitalia SpA, the country's unprofitable flagship airline.

The government, which is selling at least 30.1% of its 49.9% stake in the carrier, said January 29 it received expressions of interest from 11 potential buyers. Bidders have been asked to present a turnaround plan for the company along with offers for the stake.

Bain & Co., a Boston-based consultant, will help the government draw up a list of specifications that bidders will be asked to include in their industrial plans for Alitalia SpA, the finance ministry said today in an e-mailed statement. Italy's government decided in December to sell Alitalia after Prime Minister Romano Prodi abandoned turnaround efforts.

The airline last reported a profit in 2002. It said January 28 its estimated 2006 loss was €380 million ($495.2 million) after strikes, increased competition and flight cuts reduced revenue. (Bloomberg)