Press: Meridiana, Alpi eye Alitalia

Italian airlines Meridiana and Alpi Eagles may be eying stakes in Alitalia SpA, the daily Il Sole 24 Ore said without giving a source. The aim behind Meridiana’s recent acquisition of a 29.9 pct stake in the quoted charter airline Eurofly SpA was to create the conditions for a move on Alitalia, the Sole said.

A move by Meridiana-Eurofly on Alitalia would also have the backing of Air France because of the good relations between the top managements of Meridiana and Air France, the paper said.

According to the Sole, a business consortium in the northeast of Italy revolving around the private airline Alpi Eagles is also trying to raise the cash to buy a stake in Alitalia.

The groups that might be interested in backing Alpi Eagles include Benetton SpA which owns 1.9 pct of the airline through its finance company Edizione Holding.

The Sole said the interest of Meridiana and Alpi Eagles brings the number of players interested in Alitalia to four.

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Banca Intesa SpA and the airline Air One are also considering a possible move on Alitalia, as too is the private equity fund Management & Capitali SpA, controlled by businessman Carlo De Benedetti, Sole said.
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