April 3, 2014 / 12:15 PM / 3 years ago

Alitalia CEO says formal talks with Etihad to start within days

An Alitalia plane approaches to land at Fiumicino international airport in Rome December 10, 2013.Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - Etihad Airways has almost finished examining Alitalia's books and formal negotiations on a new industrial plan for the loss-making Italian airline will start within days, Alitalia CEO Gabriele Del Torchio said on Thursday.

"The due diligence is practically done. Now we are waiting to meet to be able to go into the details and enter the negotiation phase," Del Torchio said on the sidelines of an event in Venice. The comments were later confirmed by the company's spokeswoman.

Sources told Reuters this week that Etihad, which they said could take a stake of up to 40 percent in Alitalia, is due to present a plan to revamp the troubled Italian carrier that is likely to include demands for job cuts and debt restructuring.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Agnieszka Flak

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