Etihad in final due diligence stage for Alitalia stake buy

DUBAI Sun Feb 2, 2014 5:16am EST

DUBAI Feb 2 (Reuters) - Etihad Airways is in the final phase of a due diligence process that may result in a potential investment by the Abu Dhabi carrier in troubled Italian airline Alitalia, both companies said in a joint statement on Sunday.

Alitalia and Etihad have been in talks for weeks on a possible investment by the Gulf carrier, which sources close to the matter say may involve Etihad buying a 40 percent stake in Alitalia.

The two companies and their advisors will determine a common strategy that meets the objectives of both parties in the next 30 days, the statement added.

The Gulf airline had earlier confirmed talks with Alitalia but declined to give any further details on the discussions.

The announcement comes as Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta is on a visit to United Arab Emirates to boost bilateral ties between the two countries. He is scheduled to address the media in a press conference later this evening in Abu Dhabi.