MILAN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German carrier Lufthansa <LHAG.DE> is ready to invest up to 200 million euros ($223 million) in struggling Italian airline Alitalia [CAITLA.UL], a source close to the matter said on Thursday.
Confirming reports in two Italian dailies, the source said Lufthansa had written to Italy’s industry ministry and Italian railways Ferrovie dello Stato on Tuesday saying it was ready to take a stake in Alitalia.
Italy has been struggling to see through a rescue of its loss-making flagship carrier.
The industry ministry has extended to Nov. 21 a deadline for binding bids after an Oct. 15 deadline passed without an agreement among potential rescuers, which so far comprise state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato, U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> and infrastructure group Atlantia <ATL.MI>.
Lufthansa is ready to stump up between 150 million euros and 200 million, although the letter does not contain a precise figure, the source said.
“We are not commenting on this” a Lufthansa spokesman said.
Corriere della Sera reported on its website Lufthansa’s planned investment amounted to 170-200 million euros while la Repubblica daily said 150 million euros.
At the top of the range, Lufthansa’s investment would be twice as much what Delta <DAL.N> has committed to contributing to the Alitalia rescue.
($1 = 0.8962 euros)
(Reporting by Stefano Bernabei and Sabina Suzzi; Additional reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Editing by David Holmes)