Italian government courts Aeroflot

ITALY’s incoming prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has opened discussions with Russian president Vladimir Putin, over involving Aeroflot in a takeover bid for the crisis hit and massively loss-making Alitalia.

Berlusconi had previously stated that the Air France-KLM bid for the airline was an “insult” and that it would not be allowed to proceed unless major changes to the bid were made.

Alitalia is, however, running out of options. The government has agreed yet another bridging loan until a buyer is found, however, Italian tax payers are becoming increasingly frustrated at government spending propping up the company.

Negotiations with Aeroflot will commence imminently, but the marriage of two loss-making airlines will not necessarily fill the market and other shareholders with confidence.

Berlusconi is also likely to put his relationship with French president Nicolas Sarkozyto to the test, as he attempts to pressurise Air France into adapting its bid to suit Italian demands.

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