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Air France says it won't bid for Italy's ITA Airways

PARIS (Reuters) - Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it had informed the Italian government it would not bid for an equity stake in its flag carrier ITA Airways.

Sources earlier this month told Reuters Germany's Lufthansa would soon file an offer for ITA, which officially replaced loss-making Alitalia in 2021.

"Air France will continue to closely monitor the privatisation process and hereby reasserts its strong interest to maintain its commercial relationship with ITA, which is a SkyTeam member," Air France-KLM said.

ITA's privatisation has proved a headache for the Italian government, which in December passed a decree to sell a minority stake as the first step towards a full divestment.

Air France said the ITA privatisation requires the airlines involved to ultimately hold the majority of ITA's capital at the date of the government's exit.

The group previously took part in the privatization process as part of a consortium which also included Delta Air Lines and Certares, with the intention of becoming a potential commercial partner.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Jan Harvey)