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Alitalia board approves capital increase

A $400 million capital increase for Alitalia includes up to $101 million from the Italian Postal Services, and the rest from the consortium that runs Alitalia and a bridge loan from banks.

Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

A $400 million capital increase for Alitalia includes up to $101 million from the Italian Postal Services, and the rest from the consortium that runs Alitalia and a bridge loan from banks.

MILAN — The Alitalia board on Friday approved a $400 million capital increase as part of a rescue plan for the struggling flagship airline.

The capital increase includes up to $101 million from the Italian Postal Services, and the rest from the consortium that runs Alitalia and a bridge loan from banks.

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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said in a statement Thursday that the entrance of Poste Italiane SpA into the shareholder structure must include an overhaul of the business plan.

On top of the capital increase, banks Intesa San Paolo and Unicredit are preparing a $271 million line of credit.

Alitalia lost more than $380 million in the first half of the year, compared with about a $100 million loss in the first half of 2012. Net debt was about $1.2 billion at the end of June.

Alitalia has focused mostly on domestic routes since a group of Italian businessmen relaunched a slimmed-down airline in 2009 after Air France-KLM’s failed takeover bid. Air France remains the main shareholder with a 25-percent stake.

Analysts said the rescue would better position Alitalia to negotiate other alliances to help reposition itself in the market.

The government hailed the synergies between Alitalia and the postal service, citing postal services cargo and passenger service.

However, airline analyst Oliviero Baccelli at Milan’s Bocconi University said the postal services participation would be mostly a financial one, and that there were not true synergies because Alitalia sold its cargo business five years ago, and the postal service operates different aircraft than Alitalia and from an airport in Brescia not served by Alitalia.

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