Alitalia Targeting Break-Even This Year as Search for CEO Begins

Alitalia SpA, whose Chief Executive Officer Andrea Ragnetti resigned last month after the full-year loss widened, said it plans to break even in 2013.

Italy’s biggest carrier is focused on improving liquidity after investors backed a plan to raise 150 million euros ($195 million) in debt, it said in a statement, with the financial performance having met expectations in the first two months.

Alitalia has also begun the process of finding a new chief, the Rome-based company said, citing a briefing given to managers by Chairman Roberto Colaninno, who is also acting CEO. Los Angeles-based Korn/Ferry International (KFY) has been hired to aid the search, it added, without giving a timescale for an appointment.

The airline plans to add flights at its Rome Fiumicino airport hub after modifying the network. Adjustments include concentrating flights to the New York area at John F. Kennedy airport and scrapping flights to Newark in New Jersey.

Alitalia’s loss widened to 280 million euros last year from 69 million euros in 2011, though it reached break-even in the fourth quarter. Colaninno’s investor group CAI, which includes Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Italy’s second-biggest bank, and Atlantia SpA (ATL), its top toll-road company, bought the carrier’s main assets in 2008 and combined them with smaller competitor Air One SpA.

Air France-KLM (AF) Group, Europe’s biggest airline, owns 25 percent of Alitalia stock, with the rest in Italian hands.

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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