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Alitalia on verge of bankruptcy: report

alitalia33 copyROME: Italian airline Alitalia is once more on the verge of bankruptcy as it loses 630,000 euros ($832,000) a day in addition to the 730 million euro deficit accumulated over four years under private ownership, the Repubblica daily said Friday.


The flagship company also risks being hit hard by the end of a deal with shareholders not to sell off their shares, which runs out on January 12, the report said.


The airline has two options: either being re-nationalised or ceded in a cut-rate deal to Air France-KLM, which in 2008 had offered 2.5 billion euros for the troubled company.


The take-over bid was blocked then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.


The Italian state absorbed most of Alitalia's debt while the profit-making part of the business was sold off to a consortium of Italian businessmen.


The company was also merged with Italy's second airline, Air One.


Between June and September Alitalia lost 173 million euros -- some 150 million euros more than in 2011 according to Repubblica, which said the company needs to be recapitalised.


The company's losses deepened due to higher fuel prices and the European debt crisis.


Air France-KLM, which already owns 25 percent of Alitalia, is mulling another take-over bid, the newspaper said.


Alitalia "will be one of the first political hot potatoes on the table of the new government," following a general election due in February, it added.


The Italian airline was not immediately available for comment.


Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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