Air France-KLM deny bidding for troubled Alitalia

Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-cost European rivals, went into administration last May. (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Air France-KLM deny bidding for troubled Alitalia

Paris: The Air France-KLM group on Saturday denied it had made an offer for ailing airline Alitalia, a day after Italy's industry minister listed it among three bidders.
Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-cost European rivals, went into administration last May at the request of its shareholders after staff rejected job and salary cuts as part of a two-billion-euro ($2.4 billion) rescue plan.
"Air France-KLM denies making an offer to buy Alitalia," a statement said adding that the group "had not taken part in the process launched by Italian authorities."
On Friday, Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda said on the La7 television channel that there were three offers: one from German airline giant Lufthansa, another from US private equity group Cerberus, and a joint EasyJet-Air France bid.
"The presence of Air France is not sure and I will verify on Monday with the Alitalia administrators," Calenda however said.
According to local media reports, Lufthansa wants to lay off 2,000 employees -- almost a quarter of the total on the aviation side -- if its offer for Alitalia is accepted.
Alitalia has 11,500 workers in total.


Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

Updated 8 min 54 sec ago
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Japan, EU sign landmark trade deal

  • Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people
  • Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal
The EU and Japan signed a sweeping free trade deal Tuesday that officials called a “clear message” against protectionism, as Washington imposes controversial tariffs and threatens a trade war.
The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU’s top officials and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a free trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP.
“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said.
“Together we are making — by signing this agreement — a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together,” added Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
The huge deal was signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive “America First” trade policy.
Both the EU and Japan have been hit with new US tariffs despite their longstanding alliances with Washington.
Juncker said the deal sent a message that “trade is about more than tariffs and barriers, it is about values.”
“There is no protection in protectionism,” he said.
Abe, standing alongside the two EU officials, said the agreement, “shows the world the unshaken political will of Japan and the EU to lead the world as the champions of free trade at a time when protectionism has spread.”