18 December 2007

Only a few more hours to go; Will the Italian Government Postpone the Alitalia decision again?

OK so today is D day for Alitalia well at least its scheduled that way.

There are 2 front runners (AF/KL and AirOne investors) and a dark horse (local Italian investors) and several - well others (SQ, perhaps) - waiting in the wings.

Most people are betting on AF to win. But we have a slightly contrarian view that this may not actually happen even if the Prodi Government chooses AF or even AirOne. How so?

Remember a little earlier this year that the European Commission ruled on a small case of RyanAir and Aer Lingus? Don't think that Mr O'Leary has forgotten this little sleight. There is a strong possibility - no make that a certainty - that who ever wins will see a challenge filed by Ryanair amongst others.

The EC is going to have a pretty hard time approving an airline merger given the concentration argument it used against FR+EI. Further there is still a simmering dispute on the question of how much State Aid will need to be paid back.

Folks this one may yet run for months. Even with Alitalia losing altitude all the time.

Happy punting....

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