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MSC eyes Italian flag airline

Photo: MSC MSC Isabella.jpg
The MSC Isabella is deployed on the Asia - Europe trade
MSC Group and Lufthansa have expressed an interest in acquiring a majority stake in Alitalia successor ITA Airways.

MSC said that it aims to create a partnership with the Italian Government—owner of Alitalia successor ITA airways— and German airline and industrial partner Lufthansa.

MSC Group's interest derives from the possibility of activating positive synergies for both companies in the cargo and passenger sectors,” said MSC in a statement. The Swiss-Italian group’s main activities are container shipping and its cruise line, MSC Cruises.

The potential buyers wish for the Italian Government to remain a minority stakeholder in the airline, according to an ITA Airways statement, and have requested a 90-working-day exclusivity period to work on their Expression of Interest.

The ITA Airways board will meet later in January to consider the details of the approach.

MSC’s move on ITA Airways is the latest example of container lines extending their reach along the supply chain via acquisitions, spending some of their recent record profits.

In November 2021, Maersk announced its intention to buy global freight forwarded Senator International—a company with a strong air freight offering—and add Maersk cargo aircraft to operations. In February 2021, CMA CGM set up a new air cargo division with four Airbus A330-200F aircraft, and then in September ordered two Boeing 777 freighters.

Beyond air cargo, MSC has made a EUR5.7bn ($6.4bn) offer for Bolloré Africa Logistics which would give it operations in 47 African countries, including 16 container terminals and three rail concessions.

Maersk has racked up the $3.6bn acquisition of LF Logistics, as well as cloud-based logistics start-up HUUB, B2C Europe Holdings, and Visible Supply Chain Management.

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