ITA Airways board strips chairman of powers to discuss sale -source

The board of ITA Airways has stripped executive chairman Alfredo Altavilla of his powers, giving Chief Executive Fabio Lazzerini the task of negotiating the sale of the Italian state-owned carrier, a source close to the matter said on Wednesday.

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Both ITA Airways and Altavilla did not reply to a request of comment from Reuters. Italy picked in August a group led by U.S. private equity fund Certares, backed by Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc, for exclusive talks on buying a majority stake in ITA Airways.

Italy had to extend the talks through October after failing to meet a Sept. 30 deadline for an accord.

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The majority of ITA’s board blamed Altavilla for slowing negotiations with Certares, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported on Sunday.

The source said that six of nine board members voted to strip the executive chairman of his powers.

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Certares is ready to pay 350 million euros ($339 million) for a 50% stake plus one share of the Italian airline, sources have told Reuters. The consortium beat a rival bid presented by shipping group MSC and Germany’s Lufthansa for the chance to gain control of the successor to Italian flagship carrier Alitalia.

($1 = 1.0316 euros)

Source: Reuters

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