ROME (Reuters) - Italian information and communications technology group Almaviva said it has expressed interest, along with a group of other IT service companies, in struggling airline Alitalia.
The loss-making carrier has been run by state-appointed administrators since May 2017 and is looking for new investors to buy it and restructure the business.
The Italian government this week said it was ready to put Alitalia under state control as the global airline sector was sent into a tailspin by the coronavirus outbreak.
Family-controlled Almaviva’s decision is aimed at relaunching Alitalia and Italian tourism in general, it said in a statement.
The consortium has expressed interest for the whole airline, an Almaviva spokeswoman said, adding that the group of investors would now analyse the airline’s data to prepare an offer.
The company did not disclose the identity of the other investors.
Almaviva, which posted a revenue of 823 million euros ($880 million) in 2018, is controlled by the Rome-based Tripi family and manages Italian call-centres that serve many of the country’s largest companies.
Alitalia is in a challenging situation as travel restrictions imposed by several governments to fight the coronavirus pandemic added to the carrier’s deep-rooted financial problems.
Even before the health emergency, Alitalia was burning through its cash resources at the pace of about 300 million euros a year, its new temporary administrator Giuseppe Leogrande said in January.
In a decree that came into force on Tuesday night, the government earmarked 500 million euros to support the airline sector in Italy and sources told Reuters that the bulk of the money would go to Alitalia, which was running out of cash.
It also said it was ready to create a new company that could take control of the airline.
A spokesman for the Industry Ministry said the minister would comment later on Thursday.
Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by David Goodman