MSC Group is looking to new horizons to deploy its pile of cash earned in the container shipping boom.
Italy’s ITA Airways said on Monday that it has received an expression of interest from the Swiss shipping giant and Lufthansa.
MSC Group and the German airline are aiming to acquire the majority of ITA, which said that both suitors want the Italian government to maintain a minority stake.
The would-be buyers have requested a 90-day exclusivity period to hold talks. ITA’s board of directors will examine details of the expression of interest at a future meeting, the airline said.
The move by MSC Group, which is the parent of container ship giant Mediterranean Shipping Co and MSC Cruises, comes as liner operators are enjoying record profits.
ITA was founded in 2020 as part of a reorganisation of former Italian state flag carrier Alitalia. The airline launched ticket sales in August.
“ITA Airways is satisfied that the work carried out in recent months to offer the best prospects to the company is starting to have the expected results, providing for a company recognised as viable for partners of international reputation both in passenger and cargo transport,” the company said on Monday.
If MSC Group cements a purchase of ITA, it would not be the first move into air transportation for a container ship major.
Last year, French rival CMA CGM launched an air freight division with four Airbus A330-200Fs and ordered four A350F planes.