Arab Today, arab today etihad boss meets italian pm with alitalia deal close
Last Updated : GMT 06:51:55
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Etihad boss meets Italian PM with Alitalia deal close

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Etihad boss meets Italian PM with Alitalia deal close

Rome - AFP

Etihad Airways boss James Hogan met with Italy's Prime MinisterMatteo Renzi on Thursday, as his company nears a deal to purchase a stake in debt-laden Alitalia airline, Italian media reported.The meeting took place in the prime minister's official residence with Renzi's right-hand man cabinet secretary Graziano Delrio also attending.The Ansa news agency cited sources saying that a deal on could be in place "withinhours".On Tuesday Italy's Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi told a Senate hearing that AbuDhabi-based Etihad had completed its assessment on whether to purchase a stake inAlitalia and that a draft deal could be imminent.Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore also on Tuesday said Etihad was planning tobuy a stake of around 40 percent, which would make it by far the biggestshareholder in the carrier and respect the 49.9-percent limit for non-Europeanairlines.It also said Etihad could invest between 300 million and 500 million euros ($414million and $690 million) in return for a restructuring plan that would include up to3,000 job cuts and an upgrade of infrastructure.Alitalia in February reached a deal with trade unions for the equivalent of 1,900 jobcuts and in September last year shareholders gave unanimous approval for a capitalincrease to save the airline from bankruptcy.Etihad is expanding rapidly and has bought minor shares in several smaller carriersincluding Air Berlin and India's Jet Airways as it competes with larger Gulf rivalsEmirates and Qatar Airways.

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