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Alitalia Bid Deadline Looms, Private Equity Firms Show Interest

Alitalia will receive a clear and final indication of all interested parties willing to buy a stake in the ailing Italian airline Monday, as a deadline for bids looms.

All potential buyers must express their interest by 5pm London time. The deadline could draw bids from private equity firms such as Taxas Pacific Group and Management & Capitali, as well as operators in the airline space such as Air One.

The government owns 49.9% of Alitalia and is looking to shed at least 30.1%. There's little speculation on how much the stake would be worth but the government wants to ensure that any buyer does not cut jobs. Alitalia currently employs 18,000 workers.

Alitalia has been beset by political hurdles which have added to its current loss-making woes. The company expects a loss of around 380 million euros ($490.5 million), which is 72% greater than its previous forecast of 221 million euros loss.

“The problem, in my view, is after this stage, and how the government is going to be dealing with restructuring and staff levels,” Christian Oddono, head of investment advisory at Actinvest Group, told “Squawk Box Europe”. “Because it doesn’t make any sense to privatize a company and not let the buyer restructure. Alitalia needs some of that."

Without a successful takeover bid, Alitalia would be unlikely to last more than a year on current liquidity levels.

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