June 10, 2019 / 3:18 PM / 9 days ago

Italy's govt set to extend deadline for Alitalia rescue - sources

ROME/MILAN, June 10 (Reuters) - Italy's government is set to again extend a deadline for the rescue of loss-making carrier Alitalia after failing to secure enough investors' backing, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The government is scrambling to arrange a rescue of the airline, which was placed under special administration in 2017, to avoid mass layoffs.

It has lined up state railways Ferrovie dello Stato and U.S. carrier Delta as potential investors in a bid that could be worth around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), but there is still a shortfall of around 400 million euros.

After several deadlines for Ferrovie to present its plan for Alitalia passed with no breakthrough, a new deadline had been set for June 15 but that too will have to be pushed back, the sources said.

"Nothing is ready. The rescue is not ready," one of the sources said.

Another source, who is close to Industry Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, said the deadline could be pushed back by 15 days or one month.

Alitalia is meanwhile burning cash and the three temporary administrators who have been appointed to run it have repeatedly said it could face liquidation unless a solution is found soon.

In an emergency decree that must be converted into law at the end of June, the government has already indefinitely delayed the repayment of a 900 million euro state bridging loan it gave to Alitalia.

It has also approved a measure allowing the Italian government to invest around 145 million euros in equity in any vehicle set up to rescue Alitalia. (Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, Francesca Landini and Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Silvia Aloisi)

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