Air France denies involvement in bid to take over Alitalia


PARIS (Reuters) – Air France (AIRF.PA) on Saturday denied that it had made an offer to buy the struggling airline Alitalia, a day after an Italian government minister said the French flag carrier had made a joint bid with budget airline EasyJet (EZJ.L).

Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda on Friday said separate offers had been presented by U.S. private equity fund Cerberus and Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), as well as a joint Air France-EasyJet bid.

But in a statement, Air France said it had not taken part in the process launched by the Italian authorities.

“Air France-KLM denies having made an offer to take over Alitalia,” Air France said in a statement.

Heavily indebted Alitalia, which has only turned a profit a few times in its 70-year history, was put under special administration last year after its staff rejected a plan to cut jobs and salaries.

Reporting by Richard Lough and Cyril Altmeyer, Editing by Ros Russell

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