Alitalia CEO says job cuts from Etihad tie-up 2,200: report

Sun Jun 8, 2014 5:57am EDT
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MILAN (Reuters) - The head of Alitalia expects around 2,200 jobs to go under a planned tie-up with Gulf carrier Etihad Airways, he was quoted as saying by La Repubblica newspaper on Sunday.

"Etihad is inflexible on this (job cuts)," Gabriele Del Torchio was quoted as saying.

Alitalia and Etihad have been in talks since December, but a deal has so far proved elusive due to Italy's reluctance to bow to Etihad's demands for job cuts and a restructuring of the Italian airline's debt.

Italy's Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti said last week job cuts could be as high as 2,500 and Alitalia management is due to meet trade unions on Thursday.

La Repubblica reported Del Torchio as saying Etihad had asked the creditor banks to write off 30 percent of the airline's debt and convert the rest into equity.

"I don't think there are big problems on the horizon on this one," he was quoted as saying.

Etihad still needs to secure an agreement with Alitalia's creditors led by Italy's two biggest banks, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, on how to restructure around 700 million euros ($953 million) of debt.

Italian media over the weekend reported UniCredit's chief executive Federico Ghizzoni as saying Etihad's requests were hard to meet but he was confident a deal could be reached.

Del Torchio said in a separate interview in Il Messaggero on Sunday that he hoped a preliminary "document" for a deal with Etihad could be drawn up at an Alitalia board meeting on Friday.   Continued...

The closed office of Alitalia is seen in Caracas May 14, 2014.   REUTERS/Christian Veron