Lufthansa to consider raising stake in ITA to 90%, CEO says

ROME (Reuters) – Lufthansa will consider raising its stake in Italy’s ITA Airways to 90%, starting from early next year, the CEO of the German airline said in an interview published on Thursday.

Carsten Spohr was speaking after his company won EU antitrust approval to buy 41% of state-owned ITA for 325 million euros ($350 million).

“For us, the option for the 90% starts in early 2025,” Spohr told Italy’s Corriere della Sera, adding that he would like the Italian government to retain a stake in ITA.

When Lufthansa agreed its 41% deal with Rome’s authorities last year, it said it was looking to acquire full control of ITA “at a later date”.

In a separate interview with Il Sole 24 Ore daily, ITA Chairman Antonino Turicchi said the closing of the deal for Lufthansa’s initial investment would take place in November, adding that Lufthansa would have the possibility of raising its stake to 90% “one year after the closing”.

Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Wednesday that his government wanted to maintain some oversight on ITA to protect national interests.

In Thursday’s Corriere della Sera, Spohr said he would like to retain “the support” of the Italian government for the first two years of Lufthansa’s involvement in ITA. “Then we will discuss together what to do,” he added.

Spohr declined to say who will be appointed as ITA’s new CEO after Italian press reports suggested that Joerg Eberhart, Lufthansa’s head of strategy and former boss of Air Dolomiti, would get the job.

($1 = 0.9271 euros)

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Gianluca Semeraro and David Goodman)


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