September 21, 2017 / 5:27 PM / a year ago

REFILE-Alitalia postpones deadline for binding offers to October 16

(Adds date in headline)

ROME, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Alitalia said on Thursday it had postponed the deadline for interested parties to present offers to buy the national carrier to Oct. 16 from the previous Oct. 2.

A statement said it took the move in order to allow interested parties more time for a “deeper examination” of company data.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said last week his company was in the process of finalising a binding offer which would see Alitalia keep the brand and long-haul operations but changing the fleet for short-haul routes.

He said in August he expected to bid to operate 90 planes under the Alitalia brand and using existing staff as part of the restructuring.

Ryanair would be interested in bidding for the whole of Alitalia, which has around 120 planes, but such a deal would likely be blocked by regulators as it would leave Ryanair in control of over 50 percent of the Italian market, O’Leary has said..

Other airlines have also expressed interest in parts of Alitalia. (Reporting Alberto Sisto, writing by Philip Pullella)

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