Air France-KLM may help Alitalia under conditions: report
1) . That comes as Alitalia — which has history is perhaps best known for a seemingly endless cycle of financial emergencies — enters a new round of turbulence that has it looking for ways to raise cash. Alitalia’s deteriorating balance sheets have prompted speculation that partner Air France-KLM — which already has a 25% stake in the carrier — could come to the rescue. RELATED: A familiar place: Alitalia back to the financial brink As for the reports raising the possibility of a merger, one is one from Reuters . The news agency writes “Air France-KLM said on Tuesday it was open to merging with Alitalia in a move seen as the best solution for turning round the loss-making Italian airline.” Dow Jones Newswires ran a similar report , noting one key Alitalia shareholder views Air France-KLM “as a good candidate to take control of the carrier, (though) he said the ultimate decision lay with the (Italian) government.” “(Air France-KLM) is a good buyer,” Gilberto Benetton is quoted by Dow Jones as saying to reporters at the Milan exchange. However, Benetton says the Italian government would have to have a say — and that Air France-KLM would have to detail what it would do with Alitalia in a merger. “If the government doesn’t sit at the table with Air France-KLM … the danger is that Italy as a country becomes a region,” he’s quoted as saying be Dow Jones . “This must be avoided at all costs.” Dow Jones writes Benetton’s family, whose holdings include the eponymous retail chain, is “among a group of Italian financiers and industrialists that came to the rescue of Alitalia five years ago to stop the airline from being bought by Air France-KLM, which nevertheless owns a 25% stake.” However, Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac indicates any move his company may make regarding Alitalia will be deliberate. “Our conditions for helping Alitalia are very strict. If the conditions are met, I am ready to go ahead,” Air France-KLM Chief Executive de Juniac is quoted by Reuters as saying to the French newspaper Les Echos.
France selling ships _ and maybe arms _ to Mozambique in unusual deal
Housing Minister Cecile Duflot, a leader of the ecologist Greens coalition partners to the ruling Socialists, denounced Valls for betraying the core human rights values that France prided itself on, and demanded that Hollande reprimand him. Seeking to heal a widening rift between centrists and left-wingers in his coalition over the issue, Hollande took both Duflot and Valls to task at his weekly cabinet meeting. “I insist that all ministers pay full mind to their mission, their behavior, how they express themselves and of course, how they act,” Hollande told the meeting, according to presidential aides. “Being a member of a government does not mean you cannot have your point of view but it does mean you have to strictly apply the rules I have just set out,” he said, adding: “the debate should be inside the government not in public”. The dispute not only exposed tensions within Hollande’s 17-month-old coalition but raised new questions over the authority of the president, whose poll ratings have fallen to 23 percent amid dissatisfaction over his record on the economy and jobs. Hollande said he was also asking Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who is suffering from low popularity ratings too, to ensure better coordination in the government. The far-right National Front has signaled it plans to make the Roma issue a central campaign theme for next March’s municipal elections. It is hopeful it can tap a protest vote against Hollande to score gains in town halls across France. Valls’ tough talk on law and order has made him Hollande’s most popular government minister. A poll released at the weekend showed three-quarters of French agreed with his comments on the Roma. Hollande’s government has sought to distance itself from a hard-line policy under conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who explicitly accused Roma of links to crime and launched a program of deportations. Yet since the beginning of the year some 13,000 Roma have been evicted from illegal camps and welfare groups say the failure of schemes to re-house their inhabitants means they find themselves on the streets or simply set up new camps elsewhere. Moreover France this week said it was currently opposed to Romania and Bulgaria joining the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone when current restrictions on the movement of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens end in January 2014. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France was concerned about the ability of Romanian and Bulgarian authorities to ensure border security, airing concerns that are also shared by Germany.
Italy’s government and Alitalia shareholders have been betting on Air France-KLM raising its stake from 25 percent and possibly even taking control of the company. But there are disagreements over financial commitments and a possible business strategy for the Italian group should a merger go ahead, sources familiar with the matter said. “Our conditions for helping Alitalia are very strict. If the conditions are met, I am ready to go ahead,” Air France-KLM Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told French daily Les Echos on Tuesday, without giving more details on the terms he had in mind. Gilberto Benetton, who invests in Alitalia via motorway group Atlantia’s 8.9 percent stake in the airline, said earlier on Tuesday he would welcome Air France-KLM taking control of the group, but warned Italy’s interests should be protected first. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, other ministers, banks and Alitalia’s management met on Tuesday to find a way of beefing up Alitalia’s finances to give it greater negotiating clout in its dealings with Air France-KLM. But the talks failed to reach any decision because of the uncertain political climate and another meeting was called for next week. There are worries that any Air France-KLM investment would clash with Italy’s ambition to make Rome a hub for intercontinental flights, and instead turn Alitalia into a regional player and trigger job cuts. But de Juniac’s comments signaled he did not doubt Alitalia’s ability to operate on long-haul routes – a strategy the group is betting on to revive its fortunes after its plans to become a strong regional player came unstuck in the face of tough competition and lower demand. “Air France-KLM-Alitalia, if one day we are united, could become a very great European brand. In such a scenario, we could supply (Alitalia’s) long-haul flights with passengers from Air France and KLM and they could do the same for us,” he said.
France’s Hollande tells ministers to end Roma row
More business news ADP survey shows sign of sluggish improvement in hiring Associated Press The ADP figures are taking on greater importance because they may be the only measure of the September job market for some time because of the shutdown. More business news The government of Mozambique one of the worlds poorest countries and a major recipient of European aid isnt spelling out how much exactly is being spent on the 30 trawlers and patrol boats, or who is putting up the money. And the driving force behind the deal is a Lebanese billionaire with holdings across the Middle East and Africa who once faced investigation for his past financial dealings in France. Shaking hands and smiling, French President Francois Hollande and Mozambique President Armando Guebuza formally launched the ship-building project Monday at a struggling shipyard in Cherbourg, on Frances Atlantic coast. Shipbuilder Constructions mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) says the contract will provide two years of work for around 400 French employees. Mozambique officials say the ships will help fight illegal trafficking and piracy, and protect offshore oil and gas drilling platforms. The patrol ships will need naval guns and other military equipment, and so there are also negotiations under way about buying the needed weaponry from France, Mozambique Deputy Foreign Minister Henrique Banze said. Yes there will be weapons purchases, he told The Associated Press by telephone. Its important not only to have ships. There will also be a need to make sure that they are protected. He would not give details, but said the money for the ship deal came from a loan from another country, but I cant say which one. Hollandes office said the contract with CMN is just part of a larger global deal with the holding company Privinvest, owned by Lebanese magnate Iskandar Safa. Hollandes office wouldnt comment on the possible weapons negotiations because the deal is not public. Safa, who played a prominent role in Mondays events in Cherbourg, declined to give details on the agreements involved. Safa, who helped negotiate the release of French hostages in Lebanon in 1988, faced a French arrest warrant for several years in the 2000s because of suspicions around his financial transactions with senior French officials.
France to help Pakistan ease energy crisis: Ambassador
Talking to media persons after inaugurating a roadshow titled, ‘World of Energy Efficiency for a better Pakistan,” here by Schneider Electric, a company which offers solutions for energy management, the ambassador said France was collaborating with other partners including Asian Development Bank etc on different components of energy-related projects and one of these schemes which cost $600 million would help Pakistan save 1000 WM. Replying to a question, he said France had international commitments and would abide by them with regard to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project. The ambassador said Pakistan was a sovereign state and took decisions on their own for meeting its energy needs. As far as French government was concerned, he added, it would go by the international commitments, adding Pakistan had not requested for cooperation with regard to the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. He said France was focussing on small projects including “Munda Dam” and other hydropower projects to efficiently ease energy crisis in Pakistan. Earlier inaugurating the show, he lauded the management of Schneider Electric for bringing their whole product profile under one roof. He said that such roadshows will definitely leave an impact on energy efficient measures in future. He said the roadshow was being held under the umbrella campaign Experience Efficiency to showcase the complete energy solution portfolio of Schneider Electric under one roof. He said the event would act as a platform to educate the national stakeholders about energy solutions and seek to address energy challenges by offering solutions that add value to one’s business in the long run while aimed at all relevant audience of Schneider Electric – end users, government entities and the partners, the event will also touch upon key innovative and industry leading breakthroughs Schneider Electric have achieved globally including Ecostruxure, Struxureware and Smartstruxure. The event is being leveraged as a platform to showcase Schneider Electric’s portfolio of integrated solutions that facilitate intelligent energy management for its customers. Benoit Dubarle, Country President – UAE, Oman & Pakistan, Schneider Electric Gulf said “Our roadshow offers a unique platform to identify new opportunities and a chance to meet with influential thought leaders and decision makers in the sectors we focus on – energy, IT, finance, government, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing.