Aeroflot may join Air One in Alitalia bid

Aeroflot is seeking to raise 1 bln eur to finance the purchase of Alitalia and could join forces with the Italian airline Air One to launch a bid, the daily Finanza & Mercati said without giving a source. The daily however said that Air One indicated that no talks are underway with the Russian company.

Meanwhile, it cited Aeroflot’s CFO Mikhail Poluboyarinov as saying that the company will decide within ‘one to two weeks’ whether to bid for Alitalia.

The possible alliance between the two airlines is also finding some support from many members of government, it added.

Previously, Antonio Baldassarre, an Italian lawyer who is co-ordinator for an Italian-led consortium said he is in talks with Lufthansa over a possible joint bid for Alitalia.

Other groups interested in Alitalia include Air France-KLM and the investment fund TPG.

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Alitalia will decide by Nov 10 which partner and new controlling shareholder to propose to the government.

The daily Il Sole 24 Ore previously said Alitalia is inciting foreign and Italian investors interested in the company to form alliances that would keep the airline in Italian hands.

Aeroflot, Air France, Deutsche Lufthansa and the equity fund TPG were told that the airline would prefer that they link up with one or several Italian investors, while potential Italian bidders were told to join forces with foreign carriers, Il Sole 24 Ore said.

The Italian government owns 49.9 pct of Alitalia and is seeking to privatise the loss-making company.

Finanza & Mercati added that Air France could chose on Thursday its advisor for the bid and has had contacts with Lehman Brothers.
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