Stricken Alitalia's board meets to review options
Ailing Italian carrier Alitalia's board held an extraordinary board meeting on Saturday to review its options ahead of a long-awaited rescue plan from its sale adviser, a source familiar with the meeting said, Reuters reported.
The company confirmed the board held a three-hour meeting but said it did not plan to issue a statement on the board's deliberations and declined further comment.
Italian media has been abuzz with speculation in recent weeks over a plan being drawn up by bank Intesa Sanpaolo to salvage the loss-making airline after two previous attempts by the government to settle its fate failed.
Newspapers have said the plan includes putting the airline under special administration and splitting off its healthy units for prospective investors, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has denied any plans to put Alitalia in bankruptcy.
Intesa representatives were not present at the Saturday board meeting, the source said.
A political source on Friday said Alitalia's Chairman Aristide Police was expected at the Saturday meeting to ask the airline's controlling shareholder - the Italian Treasury - to declare whether the airline should remain in business.
Political and union sources have also said the government will soon give turnaround expert Rocco Sabelli the power to carry out Intesa's plan but without pursuing bankruptcy.
Burdened with losses, strikes and rampant inefficiencies, Alitalia is still flying thanks to an emergency government loan after a planned sale to Air France-KLM fell apart earlier this year.