March 22, 2019 / 4:15 PM / a month ago

Italian govt sounds out Fincantieri to invest in Alitalia - sources

MILAN, March 22 (Reuters) - Italy's government has approached Fincantieri over the possibility of the state-controlled shipbuilder taking part in the rescue of flagship carrier Alitalia, two sources close to the matter said on Friday.

One of the sources said talks with Fincantieri were at an early stage and centred on the possibility of the shipbuilder taking a small stake in Alitalia.

Italy's governing coalition, which has made the re-launch of Alitalia one of its priorities, is sponsoring a plan that would see state-owned railways group Ferrovie dello Stato inject funds and revamp the carrier together with industrial partners.

Ferrovie, which is prepared to take a stake of around 30 percent in the new Alitalia, is negotiating with U.S. Delta Air Lines.

Delta is expected to enter the new Alitalia with a stake of up to 15 percent, but British low-cost carrier easyJet pulled out from talks on Monday, leaving Ferrovie and the government scrambling to find other investors for a deal that would need around 900 million euros ($1.02 billion) in fresh funds.

On Thursday Italy's Junior Industry Minister Michele Geraci said that a Chinese airline may also be involved in the rescue of Alitalia, without adding details.

News of Fincantieri's possible participation was first reported on Friday by Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore. ($1 = 0.8861 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Louise Heavens)

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