Deadline extended for deal to save ailing Alitalia

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Italy’s government bought troubled national airline Alitalia a bit of breathing space Friday by extending to June a deadline for the state railway to submit a concrete takeover offer.

Economic Development Minister Luigi Di Maio “authorized the extension of the deadline to June 15, 2019,” the ministry said in a statement following a request from Alitalia’s administrators for more time.

Italy’s state railway Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) said last week it too wanted time to submit its rescue plan.

FS floated a bid to buy Alitalia at the end of October, but it does not want to hold more than 30 percent in the airline.

The railway has been discussing a potential partnership with Atlanta-based Delta airlines, which is interested in a 15-percent stake.

The Italian Treasury would take another 15 percent, according to Italian media reports.

One or more partners would nonetheless still need to be found for the remaining 40 percent.

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