February 9, 2018 / 7:32 AM / a year ago

Chances of striking deal on sale of Alitalia before vote "low" - Italy minister to paper

FILE PHOTO: An Alitalia Airbus A320-214 passenger jet arrives at Malta International Airport outside Luqa, Malta, January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

MILAN (Reuters) - The chances of striking a deal on the sale of Italy’s struggling carrier Alitalia before national elections due on Mar. 4 are “effectively low”, Italy Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa on Friday.

Alitalia, which has made a profit only a few times in its history, was put under special administration last year after staff rejected a plan to cut jobs and salaries.

Germany’s Lufthansa, British low-cost carrier easyJet and U.S. private equity fund Cerberus are among companies that have expressed an interest in Alitalia, but Calenda said their interest was temporarily on hold pending the outcome of the vote.

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; editing by Agnieszka Flak

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