Alitalia loses as much as 2 mln euros a day- Industry minister

ROME, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Alitalia loses as much as 2 million euros ($2 million) a day, Italy’s Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli said on Thursday, clarifying a comment he had made at a parliamentary committee the day before.

The estimate lays bare the challenge facing the airline’s new temporary administrator, who was been appointed earlier this month to cut costs and find a buyer for Alitalia after a consortium of potential rescuers backtracked.

Asked about how much Alitalia was bleeding, the minister said “2 million euros a day” and then added “we are talking about a (daily) loss that fluctuates during the year because the cash-flow is completely different in different periods of the year,” Patuanelli told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

Patuanelli added that it was up to the airline’s new administrator Giuseppe Leogrande to release a final data on the loss for this year.

On Wednesday, speaking at a parliamentary committee, the minister had estimated a loss of nearly 2 million euros a month.

Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato has held unsuccessful talks with Delta Air Lines and infrastructure group Atlantia to set up a consortium of investors for Alitalia. ($1 = 0.8996 euros) (Reporting by Angelo Amante; writing by Francesca Landini Editing by Alexandra Hudson)