October 29, 2018 / 2:49 PM / 15 days ago

Italy state-owned railways to discuss Alitalia offer Monday - source

MILAN (Reuters) - The board of Italy’s state-owned railway operator will meet on Monday afternoon to discuss an offer for the whole of national carrier Alitalia, a source close to the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: An Alitalia Airbus A320-200 airplane approaches to land at Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi/File Photo

Any offer by railway group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) will be subject to series of conditions, including finding an industrial partner, the source said.

Once a major player in the European airline industry, Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] has suffered in the face of competition from high-speed trains and low-cost carriers in recent years, eroding its market share and denting its profits.

The airline was put under special administration last year and the government has since been looking for a buyer.

A new ruling coalition, comprising the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League, has said the sale would be finalised by the end of this month.

Last week it said there was interest from many private investors, although it gave no names.

The sale process, initially due to be closed by April, was postponed because of elections in March.

FS presented a non-binding expression of interest for the airline this month, giving it access to the group’s books.

Last month FS Chief Executive Gianfranco Battisti said there would be many synergies between the two companies, including ticketing and routes.

FS declined to comment.

Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; Editing by Luca Trogni/Keith Weir

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