Italy’s flag carrier Alitalia has received around ten offers for total or partial take-over, including the ones from Irish budget carrier Ryanair and United Arab Emirates’ national airline Etihad Airways, according to Italian media reports.
Upon submitting its offer, Etihad has stressed that that was not legally-binding, meaning that Etihad might not acquire any additional stakes after a deal is finalized. Etihad has a 49 percent stake in Alitalia.
The source from Etihad said that Alitalia’s administration is expected to reach out to bidders to discuss the offers further, but did not disclose when that may happen. They added that because the offer is not binding, this may not necessarily go forward.
The deadline for the loss-making company to receive non-binding offers was 6:00 pm local time (1600 GMT).
Alitalia, which has struggled to compete with low-cost rivals including Ryanair, went into administration at the start of May, moving the flagship airline a step closer to liquidation as efforts continue to find a buyer.
About 18 companies expressing an interest in a potential purchase had reportedly been given access to the company’s figures, including Delta Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Easyjet and Ryanair.
Italy’s government said in May it would provide a bridging loan to keep Alitalia planes flying for around six months.
Those interested in making binding offers have until October.
If no buyer can be found, the administrators will have to organize Alitalia’s winding-up, with the potential loss of 20,000 jobs at the company and among suppliers.