Air France-KLM will wait for more information from Alitalia management on the Italian airline's situation before making a decision on whether to increase its stake in its SkyTeam partner.
The Italian carrier is looking for a capital increase of at least €300 million ($406 million) by the year-end as part of its restructuring and Air France-KLM has been looking at what to do with its 25% stake in the operator.
Air France-KLM management presented their view of the Alitalia situation at a board meeting late yesterday, after which the board considered it "vital" to hear an update from Alitalia's management at the Italian carrier's own board meeting. Alitalia under new chief executive Gabriele del Torchio has said it will hold a board meeting "towards the end of this month" to present its first half results and to hear a report from adviser Banca Leonardo on its initial work supporting Alitalia's capital increase.
Speculation on whether Air France-KLM might look at increasing its stake in Alitalia has been ongoing, particularly heightened after a lock-in on Alitalia's existing Italian investors expired at the start of the year. For its part Air France-KLM, which continues with its own restructuring efforts, has refused to be drawn on its intentions and most recently said no decision would be taken before the fourth quarter.
Air France-KLM took its 25% stake in Alitalia after an initial takeover attempt failed in 2008, in part after it became wrapped up in Silvio Berlusconi's election campaign which pressed for Alitalia to remain in Italian ownership. Italy's transport minister Maurizio Lupi though yesterday said the Italian government had no objections to Air France-KLM increasing its stake to 50%.