Air FranceAlitalia talks collapse as chairman resigns

ALITALIA has announced that Aristide Police has been appointed as chairman of Alitalia, a day after Maurizio Prato (right) resigned following the collapse of takeover talks with Air-France-KLM.

Prato was quoted by unions as saying “this company is cursed, only an exorcist can save it”, after negotiations with unions hit a brick wall. Prato had issued a warning to the workers, saying that the airline risked bankruptcy unless a deal was reached. Representatives of the unions involved in the negotiations rejected the latest AF-KLM offer, which would result in the loss of 2,100 jobs. The largest union FILT-CGIL blamed AF-KLM chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta, for the collapse of takeover talks even though he seemed willing to concede ground on the closure of Alitalia’s freighter operations and redundancies of maintenance workers.

Trading in Alitalia shares was subsequently suspended on 3 April.

Alitalia stated that it will now take a close look at its finances and tell the government by 8 April if it had the resources to survive.

Italy’s economy minister, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, said on 2 April that the only alternative to the AF-KLM offer would be to put Alitalia into emergency administration. He added that a 300 million Euro state bridging loan would be impossible unless the AF-KLM deal was signed.

Late on 3 April the Alitalia board, after a day of emergency meetings, announced that it was still looking at the takeover offer and a chink of light appeared, as unions insisted that they were still ready to negotiate.

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