It has been widely reported today that Etihad and the Italian government have reached an agreement that will see Etihad invest 560 million Euros for a 49% share of Alitalia with future possible injection of up to 600 million additional Euros over three years.
The current shareholders must chip in an additional 150 million Euros in September to keep the airline up and running until the deal with Etihad is closed.
There is a good piece about this in the Financial Times that you can access here.
Last year, the Italian Government orchestrated a 500 million Euro bailout, but the money seems to be gone already and the current debt of the airline is expected to be around 900 million Euros. One third of the old debt will be written off and rest converted to equity.
The question here is, does it make any sense to throw more money in? Nobody wants to see the airline to collapse, but it is difficult to see any other solution if they keep burning through half a billion Euros per year.
Many are wondering what Etihad’s strategy is as they keep purchasing minority stakes in a number of airlines that haven’t been doing well. Etihad certainly won’t run out of cash as it is controlled and financed by the Abu Dhabi Emirate.