Mediterranean Shipping Co. plans to own a controlling stake in new Italian flag carrier ITA Airways in a deal valued somewhere around US$1.4 billion, which would include German airline Lufthansa.
Lufthansa would act as an industrial partner and possibly consider up to 40 percent equity involvement, but some analysts think it is unlikely to make an immediate investment.
The airline, exiting restrictions on merger activity that came with its 9 billion-euro government bailout, has paid back its state loans, freeing it up for foreign investments as it chooses.
MSC, meanwhile, has overtaken AP Moller-Maersk A/S as top container line by capacity, according to recent data. The container shipping, logistics and cruise line group, owned by the Italian Aponte family, offered to buy the African transport and logistics business of Bollore SA for 5.7 billion euros including debt in December 2021.
ITA, the successor to defunct Alitalia, is attractive for the synergies it would bring in both the cargo and passenger business, MSC noted. These include freight synergies and the Italian carrier’s ability to fly passengers to cruise ships