Lufthansa Group has confirmed it will take a minority stake in Italian flag carrier ITA Airways.
The group submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance earlier this year, and an agreement has now been reached for it to take a 41 per cent stake in ITA Airways, with an option to acquire the remaining shares in the airline at a later date.
Subject to approval by the relevant authorities Lufthansa Group will pay €325 million for its minority stake, with the Italian government also committing to a capital increase of €250 million in ITA Airways.
The purchase price for the group to potentially acquire the remaining shares in the airline “will be based on the business development of ITA Airways”.
ITA will become the fifth network carrier in the Lufthansa Group, joining Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian and Brussels Airlines.
The group said that Italy was its most important market outside of its home base countries and the United States, with Carsten Spohr, chief executive officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG calling the agreement “a win-win situation for Italy, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group”.
“As a young company with a modern fleet, and with its efficient and expanding hub in Rome, ITA is a perfect fit for Lufthansa Group,” said Spohr.
“In Milan, ITA serves a strong catchment area which also offers potential for growth. As part of the Lufthansa Group family, ITA can develop into a sustainable and profitable airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world.
“At the same time, this investment will enable us to continue our growth in one of our most important markets.”
ITA Airways was launched in October 2021 following the closure of its predecessor Alitalia, and speculation of the carrier joining the Lufthansa Group began not long after.
ITA is currently a member of the Skyteam alliance, and the question now will surely be when, not if, the airline will switch allegiance to the Lufthansa Group-dominated Star Alliance.