Alitalia raises EUR173 million in cash call, to receive the rest from postal service, others

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 28, 2013 12:45 PM EST

On Thursday, troubled airline Alitalia said it managed to raise less than two-thirds of the expected EUR300 million or USD407 million cash call it needed to keep afloat. The cash call, said by Reuters, was seen as an emergency measure to ensure loss-making Alitalia would keep operating until it finds a strategic investor.

Alitalia received EUR173 million from existing investors who had subscribed to the airline's rights issue. The rights issue included guarantee payments made by Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, two of the largest banks in Italy. Alitalia expected to sell the remaining shares in the rights issue in a second phase. Italy's state-owned postal service care of the government via Italy's rescue plan launched last month, will pitch in EUR75 million. Alitalia, Reuters said, hoped to convince other investors to cover the remainder.

"Given the information received to date and taking into account subscription commitments already made, the company believes that the conditions exist for the capital increase to be fully covered," Alitalia said in a statement.

Major shareholder Air France-KLM, who has a 25% ownership stake in the Italian airline, refused to participate in the cash call. The Franco-Dutch airline reasoned that Alitalia's new business plan was not sound enough to ensure the Italian airline's safety from its creditors who had been writing off some of the latter's massive debts. Alitalia promised in its new business plan that it is willing to take drastic cost cuts.

Reuters said in its report that Air France-KLM's non-participation in the share call raises uncertainty over the future of Alitalia. The Franco-Dutch group was expected to be the one who can rescue the beleaguered airline. Analysts had said Air France-KLM was willing to take on Alitalia if the latter was able to rid some of its massive debt.

Aside from Air France-KLM, Alitalia is owned by 21 other investors including highway operator Atlantia and bank Intesa.

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