Italy will not pour more taxpayer money into Alitalia: minister

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ROME (Reuters) – Italy will not pump more public money into Alitalia, Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli said on Saturday, warning that the troubled airline could shut down by mid-2020 without a buyer.

Alitalia, which is losing 2 million euros ($2.2 million) a day, was put under a new temporary administrator this month after a consortium of potential rescuers backed out.

Patuanelli was quoted as saying by Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that he had signed off a further loan of 400 million euros this week to keep the loss-making carrier in business.

“This is really the last state intervention for Alitalia,” Patuanelli said adding that either a buyer was found by mid 2020 or the company “would shut down”.

The minister dismissed the possibility of the loan being considered illegal state aid by the European Commission.

“We will change the Alitalia brand and the company’s structure,” Patuanelli said, without elaborating.

Industry analysts calculate Alitalia, which went through two previous rescues in 2008 and 2014, has already burned through roughly 9 billion of euros in taxpayers’ money.

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