Alitalia CEO Departs on Widening Loss at Italian Flag Carrier

Alitalia SpA said Chief Executive Officer Andrea Ragnetti has resigned one year into his post, as the Italian flag carrier reported its loss quadrupled last year.

Alitalia widened its loss in 2012 to 280 million euros ($366 million) from 69 million euros the year earlier, the Rome- based carrier said in a statement late yesterday. Chairman Roberto Colaninno will act as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found, it said.

Ragnetti was named to run Alitalia a year ago to continue a turnaround effort. Colaninno’s investor group CAI, which includes Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP), Italy’s second-biggest bank, and Atlantia SpA (ATL), its No. 1 toll-road company, bought the carrier’s main assets in 2008 and combined them with smaller competitor Air One SpA. Air France-KLM (AF), Europe’s biggest airline, owns 25 percent, with the rest in Italian shareholders’ hands.

Alitalia said sales last year rose 3.3 percent to 3.59 billion euros. The airline reached break even in the fourth quarter, it said.

Shareholders on Feb. 22 approved a board proposal to raise 150 million euros in debt set to expire in 2015. Shareholders can subscribe to the bond which can be converted into shares next year, the carrier said. The majority of shareholders endorsed the move, it said.

Ragnetti said this month that he expected Air France-KLM to participate in the fundraising move, although he did not tie Alitalia’s long-term future to the Franco-Dutch airline group. Consolidation in the future could also involve Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) and British Airways (IAG) parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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