Lufthansa CEO says final talks with ITA Airways focused on price

BRUSSELS, March 29 (Reuters) - Lufthansa's final negotiations for the takeover of ITA Airways are focused on price given ongoing losses, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told journalists on Wednesday ahead of a meeting later this week with the Italian government to push forward talks.

State-owned ITA, which took to the air in 2021 as the successor to loss-making Alitalia, posted on Tuesday a 2022 loss of around 486 million euros due to lingering effects of the pandemic and rising fuel costs, despite strong revenues of 1.58 billion euros.

Late in January, the Italian Treasury said it had signed a letter of intent with Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) over the sale of a minority stake. Negotiations are ongoing, but no details of the offer were disclosed.

Sources have said the German carrier is negotiating with Rome over the purchase of a 40% stake in the airline valued at around 200 million euros ($216.68 million), with the idea of buying the rest at a later stage.

Spohr said a final deal was still some weeks, not days, away, but that it is expected to be decided by April 24.

($1 = 0.9230 euros)

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Tim Hepher in Brussels, Angelo Amante in Rome; Editing by Jan Harvey

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Joanna reports on airlines and travel in Europe, including tourism trends, sustainability and policy. She was previously based in Warsaw, where she covered politics and general news. She wrote stories on everything from Chinese spies to migrants stranded in forests along the Belarusian border. In 2022, she spent six weeks covering the war in Ukraine, with a focus on the evacuation of children, war reparations and evidence that Russian commanders knew of sexual violence by their troops. Joanna graduated from the Columbia Journalism School in 2014. Before joining Reuters, she worked in Hong Kong for TIME and later in Brussels reporting on EU tech policy for POLITICO Europe.