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28-Apr-2016 3:13 PM

Alitalia signs MoU with the Maltese Government regarding a possible Air Malta stake purchase

Alitalia CEO Cramer Ball confirmed (27-Apr-2016) an MoU has been signed with the Maltese Government to launch due diligence regarding stake acquisition in Air Malta of up to 49%, given it “can fit into our strategic growth, particularly how our networks can complement each other in areas such as southern Italy. Mr Ball said, “There are strong cultural and commercial bonds between Italy and Malta, and this MoU is a first and important step, but we will only make a decision once we have completed an exhaustive examination of a possible deal. We will need to establish unequivocally that a deal with Air Malta will not undermine the progress of our three-year turnaround programme, or prejudice our financial position. Until then, it’s business as usual. We are on track to become a profitable entity by 2017 and we need to look and plan for the future, which is why we have decided to look closely to see whether Air Malta can fit into our strategic growth, particularly how our networks can complement each other in areas such as southern Italy. The future of the commercial aviation industry has to be one of consolidation, and for us to prosper we must examine opportunities where we believe we can offer a wider reach for our customers”. Air Malta chairperson Maria Micallef said negotiations were at an early stage” however noted the negotiations are expected to conclude by the end of Jul-2016. Malta Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said, “This is one step of the process and there is still a long way to go. The signing of this MoU means that we will cease talks with other airlines and start more detailed discussions with Alitalia”. Mr Lewis added, “The MoU document will be tabled in parliament on 25-May-2016, once the confidentiality period agreed between both parties expires”. Mr Lewis further added, “If this acquisition were to materialise, the government would remain the majority shareholder and the airline’s name would remain Air Malta”. [more - original PR]

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