Daily Management Review

Alitalia finds a savior


Bolivian entrepreneur of Polish origin German Efromovich announced his plans to buy out a stake in the problem Italian air carrier Alitalia. According to Mr. Efromovich, he could easily buy up to 30% in Alitalia, which is undergoing bankruptcy and is under external control, and do what no one has been able to do for many years to save it, and in just six months.

Mr. Efromovich made his statement in a telephone conversation with the journalist of the Italian edition of Il Sole 24 Ore (the interview was published in the paper version of the Italian newspaper). In an interview, German Efromovich, in particular, said: “Two weeks ago, we sent a letter to Ferrovie dello Stato (operator of Italian railways, which participates in the development of the assistance plan for Alitalia) and Mediobanca Bank with a proposal to purchase up to 30% in Alitalia”. In exchange, Mr. Efromovich expects for his team seats in the leadership of Alitalia, and for himself personally - the post of general director. “At least initially, in order to restructure,” he notes.

According to Mr. Efromovich, his friend advised him to buy a stake in Alitalia. “Alitalia is a great company. I do not understand how it can incur losses. Yes, it can be restored in six months. So I bought a Colombian Avianca 14 years ago, it had 34 aircraft and 4.3 thousand employees, and I restored it. Now it has 189 aircraft and 22 thousand employees, the revenue was $ 350 million, and has become $ 4.5 billion,” he said.

As Il Sole 24 Ore notes, the Bolivian businessman will need at least $ 273 million to buy a 30 percent stake in Alitalia.

Mr. Efromovich says that he has all the necessary amount in stock and will not even have to take a loan (at present he owns 78% of Avianca voting shares and 52% of its capital).
At the first time, he intends to make the necessary staff reductions, but only those “who work poorly”. “The company will definitely grow. At first, there may be reductions, but in a year or two Alitalia will have more employees than today,” the entrepreneur assured.

At the same time, Mr. Efromovich did not mention a number of interesting facts, for example, that the Brazilian branch of Avianca, controlled by its conglomerate, declared itself bankrupt in December 2018 and is now in the process of returning its aircraft to landlords. In addition, last month, German Efromovich was suspended from his duties as chairman of the board of directors of Avianca. The reason for this was a lawsuit from United Continental Holdings, which accused the entrepreneur of not paying the debt in the amount of $ 456 million. These funds were taken by German Efromovich last year on the security of his stake in Avianca Holdings, according to United Continental Holdings, he violated the terms of the contract.

source: ilsole24ore.com