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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 10:36 GMT
Five bidders now eyeing Alitalia
Alitalia planes parked at Rome's Fiumicino airport
Whoever wins the auction will have to turn around Alitalia's fortunes
Italy has shortlisted five bidders for the auction to buy Alitalia.

They include Carlo Toto, boss of rival Italian airline Air One, as well as US private equity fund Texas Pacific and Italian banking group UniCredit.

They are joined by a consortium led by Italian entrepreneur Carlo De Benedetti and another US private equity group, Matlin Patterson Global Advisers.

Rome is selling 30.1% of the ailing airline, which would require the buyer to make a formal bid for the rest.

Loss-making

The Italian government said the five suitors now had until mid-April to present non-binding offers.

It first announced details of the sale in December, and chose the final five bidders from the 11 groups that originally expressed interest.

The Italian government currently has a 49.9% stake in the airline.

Alitalia said last month it expected to see its annual losses widen to 380m euros ($498m; 255m) in 2006.

The airline has struggled against strong competition from low-cost rivals, higher fuel prices, over-staffing and numerous strikes by employees.


SEE ALSO
Alitalia boosted by sell-off news
30 Jan 07 |  Business
Alitalia warns of widening losses
29 Jan 07 |  Business
Air France boss leaves Alitalia
17 Jan 07 |  Business
January deadline for Alitalia bid
29 Dec 06 |  Business
Italy to reduce stake in Alitalia
01 Dec 06 |  Business
Leaders discuss Alitalia future
23 Nov 06 |  Business

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