German Efromovich sets sights on ailing Alitalia

Alitalia A321 ©AirTeamImages

Having been ousted as Chairman of Columbia’s Avianca airline after defaulting on a loan from United Continental Holdings (United), Bolivian-born German Efromovich has now made an approach to acquire a 30% stake in the struggling Italian flag-carrying airline Alitalia. Italian daily financial newspaper Il Sole 24 reported a conversation it had with Efromovich in which he said: “We wrote a letter to Ferrovie dello Stato and the adviser Mediobanca two weeks ago saying we can purchase up to 30% of Alitalia,” adding,  “We want to join the company’s management and I’d like to be the chief executive officer, at least at the start.” According to the newspaper, a 30% stake in the Italian carrier would cost in the region of US$273 million. While Efromovich was forced out of Avianca after his holding company, Synergy Group Corp, defaulted on a loan from United, he still owns a 72% share of the airline’s voting rights and 52% of its capital. Efromovich has confirmed that he would not need to take out a loan to raise the necessary funds to purchase a stake in Alitalia and it is understood the capital would be raised through a combination of family funds and trusts. Ferrovie dello Stata Italiane SpA (Ferrovie) is responsible for heading the talks surrounding any rescue package for Alitalia and has extended the deadline for binding bids to July 15 after easyJet withdrew all interest. Currently Ferrovie, the Italian government and U.S. carrier Delta Airlines are committed to investing in Alitalia, but only to a capped level and thus an additional investor(s) is being sought. According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Italian infrastructure group Toto Holding, has also shown interest in investing in Alitalia.

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