Lufthansa and ITA Airways submit new proposals to EU Commission in bid to secure stake purchase approval

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In a bid to address the European Commission’s regulatory concerns, the Italian government and Lufthansa have submitted new proposals regarding the German airline’s planned acquisition of a 41% stake in Italy’s ITA Airways, the successor to Alitalia. The Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, has thus far withheld approval of the deal, citing competition issues.

Details of the latest proposals have not been disclosed by either party, but Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, expressed optimism about the prospects for regulatory approval. “We continue to expect a positive decision from Brussels on the acquisition of ITA Airways in the summer,” he stated at the airline’s annual general meeting.

The Italian Treasury and Lufthansa have been working to meet the June 13 deadline set by the Commission, which was recently extended to July 4 following the submission of the new proposals. Italy’s economy ministry confirmed that the proposals were presented in response to the regulator’s requests and within the required timeframe.

According to reports from Italian daily La Repubblica, Lufthansa has offered concessions to address competition concerns. These include a commitment to freeze any integration with ITA for two years on long-haul flights to the United States and Canada from Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Additionally, Lufthansa has reportedly agreed to cede some Italy-Germany routes to competitors, such as easyJet, for three years, and to relinquish more slots at Milan’s Linate airport.

This latest offer comes after the Commission rejected two previous remedy packages submitted by Rome and Lufthansa. Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti presented the third offer two weeks ago following a meeting with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

The outcome of these negotiations will not only shape the future of ITA Airways but also have broader implications for competition in the European aviation market. As stakeholders await the Commission’s decision, all eyes are on Brussels to see whether these latest proposals will clear the runway for Lufthansa’s acquisition of ITA Airways.

(Source: XM | Market Screener | MSN | UK)

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