Ita, Air France – KLM ‘dream’ moves away, blocked by the state aid node

Mani, at the moment, tied for Air France-KLM in the match of the alliances of Ita. The Franco-Dutch group “which has never indicated wanting to take a stake” in the new Italian area company, even if it wanted to in the current state of affairs, could not, however, do so. In line with the commitments made with the EU Commission, Air France – KLM cannot invest in a foreign company until the group has repaid at least 75% of the state aid received. Instead, Lufthansa did by reimbursing the German state aid in full. And Air France – KLM, as the group interviewed by Adnkronos explains, “still has to respect this ‘M&A’ ban”.

Since April 2020, the aid received by the Franco-Dutch group has exceeded € 14 billion: Air France has received 9.2 billion (4 billion in guaranteed loans, 3 billion in direct loans from the French state, 1 billion in capital increase and 1.2 billion of postponement of social contributions) while KLM received 3.4 billion euros (2.4 billion of guaranteed loans that were not fully used and 1 billion of direct loans from the Dutch state). Air France – KLM, revealed ‘Les Echos’ on January 6, “after two years of unprecedented losses and over € 14 billion in French and Dutch state aid, it will have to make a new capital increase to replenish its funds. and meet its commitments “.

Air France – KLM, explained the French business newspaper, “would ideally need 6 billion euros to regain a healthy financial situation. Other estimates speak of 4-5 billion to regain a normal level of debt, excluding the debt incurred in the with the French and Dutch states. The only certainty: the group will have to proceed with a new capital increase of 1 to 2 billion euros this year “. And the French state, which now has around 30% of Air France – KLM, will not be able to exceed this quota without having to launch a takeover bid and therefore “will only be able to inject what is necessary to avoid the dilution of its shareholding, knowing that France has committed to the EU Commission to bring its participation back to the pre-crisis level, ie 14.3%, by 2026 “.

In short, for the Franco-Dutch group the risk is to have to look at the MSC-Lufthansa match without being able to relaunch. Air France – KLM, at this moment, can only put a strengthening of the collaboration on the plate, which may not be enough for Ita. “We indicated that we wished to strengthen our collaboration with Ita with which we have already reached a code share agreement”, reiterated today a spokesman for Air France – KLM. An agreement that was reached in December 2021 and that the French-Dutch group considered “as a first step towards broader cooperation, in particular with an integration into the broad transatlantic joint venture launched in 2020 with Delta and Virgin Atlantic”.

For Air France – KLM, ‘Les Echos’ notes, commenting on the presentation of the expression of interest of MSC and Lufthansa for Ita, “the prospect of seeing Ita pass under the German flag would be nothing pleasant” for the Franco-Dutch group: ” in addition to a long history in common, which had seen Alitalia close to an integration with the Air France – KLM group, Italy remains in fact one of the main markets in Europe and a precious resource of customers in transit through the ‘ub of Paris Roissy – Charles de Gaulle for Air France long-haul flights “.