October 31, 2018 / 5:37 PM / 20 days ago

EasyJet still interested in 'restructured' Alitalia

FILE PHOTO: An EasyJet Airbus A319-100 airplane and an Alitalia Airbus A321-100 airplane are seen on the tarmac at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

(Reuters) - Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ.L) said on Wednesday that it had submitted a revised expression of interest for a restructured Alitalia, in response to the new Italian government’s ongoing sales process.

EasyJet had said in September that it was still talking to the Italian government over Alitalia’s short-haul operations, adding that any deal needed to make commercial sense.

Alitalia, a symbol of Italy’s post-war economic boom but now struggling to compete against low-cost carriers and high speed trains, was put under special administration last year and has been looking for a buyer.

EasyJet said the content of the expression of interest was subject to confidentiality, but that the move was in line with its existing strategy for Italy.

Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) had submitted expressions of interest this year for Alitalia or parts of its business, but the lengthy formation of a new anti-establishment government delayed the process.

Wizz Air did not immediately comment when asked if the company had also submitted a revised expression of interest. Lufthansa said on Tuesday that it had no interest in participating in a government-led restructuring of the Italian carrier.

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) declined to comment on Friday on reports that the second biggest U.S. carrier was interested in buying a stake in Alitalia.

The deadline to sell Alitalia was meant to be on Wednesday and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said last week that many private investors were interested in the airline.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Jane Merriman

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