Source AP ©

Milan stock exchange: Alitalia shares up before bid deadline

Alitalia shares were up Monday before the expiration of a deadline to submit bids to the Italian government for the struggling airline.

Shares were trading up 2 percent at EUR1.032 (US$1.40) on the Milan stock exchange.

The three final bidders have until the end of the work day to submit final nonbinding offers for the airline.

The bidders are: Italy's Unicredit SpA and Russian airline Aeroflot; New York-based asset management group Matlin Patterson Global Advisers LLC and Texas Pacific Group pooling their bid with Italian investment bank Mediobanca; and AP Holding SpA, led by Carlo Toto, chairman of Air One.

Italy, which controls a 49.9 percent share of Alitalia, intends to sell at least a 39.9 percent share to a buyer with a turnaround plan. Under the latest terms outlined by the government, bidders must guarantee Alitalia will retain an Italian identity for at least eight years and set out terms of a business plan to turn around the airline.

The government wants to complete the privatization by the end of June.