The Italian companys board, which loses its veto over investments on Oct. 28, will meet Sept. 26 to study plans to raise cash that might entail a capital increase involving Air France, a second person said. Both asked not to be named since talks are private. For Air France-KLM, already Alitalia s biggest shareholder, taking full control of its Skyteam alliance partner would help lock in access to one of Europes largest aviation markets. Counting against a purchase are the Italian companys mounting losses and Air Frances focus on reviving short-haul operations, which might make a deal involving a third-party such as Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC more likely, according to Donal ONeill, an aviation analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin. There would be some sense in Air France looking to increase their holding together with Etihad, said ONeill, who has a hold rating on Air France-KLM, Europes biggest airline. Air France by itself isnt exactly flush with cash at the moment and Etihad has aspirations to grow in Europe. Asian Links Air France-KLM spokesman Cedric Leurquin declined to comment on Alitalia and said he couldnt immediately confirm the date of the next board meeting. A representative of Rome-based Alitalia, where losses quadrupled to 280 million euros in 2012, declined to comment. Etihad, the third-biggest Gulf carrier, has been an ally of Air France since a pact in 2012, and may be a potential Alitalia investor after taking stakes in European operators including Air Berlin Plc (AB1) and Aer Lingus Group Plc. A tie-up would enhance Italy s connections with Asia via Abu Dhabi, complementing links to the west through Air France-KLM bases in Paris and Amsterdam. Italys infrastructure and transport minister, Maurizio Lupi, will also meet with his French counterpart on Sept. 26 to discuss the situation, he said yesterday at an event in Rome . Ill meet the French minister and Ill be clear about the fact that Alitalia is a strategic asset for our country and that finding an international partner is essential, Lupi said.
Air France-KLM Said to Call Board Meeting on Alitalia Takeover
The carbon tax will be introduced progressively on fossil fuels in order to earn 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in 2016. President Francois Hollande , who vowed during his election campaign to reduce reliance on nuclear to half of total output by about 2025 while also keeping down consumers bills, hasnt yet said how he will reconcile those aims. The country gets about three-quarters of the power it produces from EDFs 58 nuclear reactors, more than any other nation. The energy transition will cost an estimated 20 billion euros a year, Hollande said yesterday. Our nuclear fleet will be asked to contribute, Ayrault said today at the end of a two-day conference on the environment. The tax would apply over the remaining lifetime of our reactors. Frances Green party, which had said it would withdraw support for the Socialist government over the slow pace of policy initiatives, applauded the carbon tax announcement and new incentives towards home renovations for improved energy use. Ayrault didnt give details of how much EDF, which is 84 percent owned by the government, will have to pay. The utility is compensated for the higher cost of electricity produced by wind turbines and solar panels it buys through a tax on power bills called the CSPE. Carbon Tax The planned carbon tax, to be called a climate energy contribution, will be neutral next year and generate 2.5 billion euros in 2015 and 4 billion euros in 2016, Ayrault said. It will be applied to gasoline, diesel, coal, natural gas as well as heavy and heating fuels. Fishing and transport workers will be exempt from the levy while industrial plants that qualify for carbon quotas will keep their system, according to Ayrault. The governments policy announcements appear to be pragmatic, with very ambitious targets, some would even say hard-to-reach targets, said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, who is chief executive officer of Solvay SA (SOLB) and was speaking for the business lobby Medef. The state appears to have a vision about what it wants the energy mix to be and is giving itself the means to achieve it. Hollande said yesterday the an energy law would be passed by the end of next year capping nuclear-power capacity and granting the state the legal means to shut down reactors. The president hasnt said whether more nuclear plants will close, beyond the planned shuttering of Fessenheim in eastern France by the end of 2016.