October 31, 2018 / 7:27 PM / 14 days ago

Alitalia receives two binding offers, one expression of interest: airline

ROME (Reuters) - State-appointed administrators at Alitalia said on Wednesday they had received two binding offers for the Italian airline and one non-binding expression of interest.

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

They gave no details of the bids, saying only that they would examine the proposals carefully in the coming days.

Alitalia was put under special administration last year after workers rejected its latest rescue plan, leaving the government once again seeking a buyer to save the carrier. It will be the airline’s third rescue in a decade.

Italy’s state-controlled railways Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) IPO-FERRO.MI said on Tuesday they would put in an offer for the airline, while budget airline EasyJet (EZJ.L) said on Wednesday it had submitted a revised expression of interest for a restructured Alitalia.

A source with knowledge of the matter said Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) had also made an offer for Alitalia.

When asked for a comment, the U.S. airline said it would “continue to explore ways to work with Alitalia and maintain our partnership in the future”. Alitalia and Delta are partners in a trans-Atlantic joint venture that also includes Air France KLM (AIRF.PA).

Once a major player in the European airline industry, Alitalia 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.

Alitalia has cost Italian tax payers almost 10 billion euros (£8.8 billion) over the last 20 years, more than the market capitalisation of Air France-KLM, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian Air, Finnair and SAS combined, according to TRA Consulting.

The sale process, initially to be closed by April, was delayed due to the change of Italy’s government.

Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), which initially expressed an interest in Alitalia, said this week it had no interest in participating in a government-led restructuring effort.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Alberto Sisto in Rome and Agnieszka Flak in Milan; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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