Summer is coming to an end, offices are filling up again and the institutional machine is starting up again at Palazzo Chigi, the residence of the Italian Prime Minister. In addition, in the imminent finance law, there is another particularly hot file: the Ita Airways – Lufthansa affair.
Everything seemed to be taken for granted
After the agreement signed at the end of May by the management of LH and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the game seemed clear: the German group was to initially acquire 41% of the shares with an investment of 325 million euros. . Then Lufthansa was to attempt the takeover for full control of the Italian business. Everything has been established and ready to go through EU Antitrust review. The parties were expected to get the final green light by October or at the latest by the end of the year. But as September dawns, a veil of uncertainty seems to hang over what seemed perfectly defined.
It looks like there would be some changes on the Italian side
The notification to the EU guarantor should have been sent between the end of August and the beginning of September. Lufthansa is still in time. But some signals suggest, if not a distortion of the initial plans, at least a slowdown, perhaps due to ulterior motives.
MSC back in the game?
First of all, the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, planned in mid-August to re-establish relations with MSC to try again to involve the maritime group in the privatization of ITA and thus curb German ambitions.
European antitrust awaits notification before making decision
Thus, this fuels some suspicion that in July a spokesperson for Lufthansa in agreement with the government said that they are “in the process of notifying the transaction for ITA to the European Commission and other competent authorities within weeks future. The spokesperson added: “we look forward to establishing a constructive dialogue which will allow us to obtain authorization in good time”.
A spokesman for the EU executive revealed that Lufthansa’s entry into ITA has not yet been communicated to Brussels. The European antitrust would have added: “if an operation constitutes a concentration and has a European dimension, it is always up to the companies to notify it to the Commission”.
After the certainties, Lufthansa has difficulty understanding the Italians
The impression is that the certainties of the month of May are beginning to waver. At Lufthansa headquarters, time is spent waiting and understanding the intentions of Palazzo Chigi and the Prime Minister?