Etihad Airways receives Merger and Acquisition Deal of the Year award

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, received the Airfinance Journal's Merger and Acquisition Deal of the Year award.
The United Arab Emirates' national airline, Etihad Airways, recently was recognized with Airfinance Journal's Merger and Acquisition Deal of the Year award.

"We are delighted and honored to receive this award," James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said. “ It is an endorsement not only of this transaction, but of our business model, which leverages partnership and economies of scale for network growth and to create business synergies across the broad spectrum of airline activities."

The award was given in recognition of Etihad Airways’ 2014 acquisition of a strategic minority equity stake in Alitalia, the national carrier of Italy.

“Alitalia is one of the most iconic brands in global aviation in one of the world’s largest travel markets," Hogan said. "We were confident that with the right level of capitalization and a strong, strategic business plan, the airline could be turned around and repositioned as a premium global airline once again.”

A restructuring deal worth more than $1 billion saw Etihad Airways investing more than $500 million to gain a 49 percent share in New Alitalia as well as 75 percent of the airline's frequent flyer program and asset purchases.

The transaction was completed on Dec. 31, 2014.

“The negotiation process leading to the conclusion of the deal was a tough multi-stakeholder process which took more than a year, and we would like to acknowledge the positive support of the government, the shareholders, the unions and the people of Alitalia in achieving a consensus and in addressing the conditions precedent we required in order to proceed with this strategic transaction," Hogan said. “For us it was very important not only to obtain the buy in of all these stakeholders, but also to stabilize the business so that from the start, our investment would be focused on supporting the implementation of the new business plan for a sustainable Alitalia."

Since the acquisition, a strategic development plan expected to see profits by 2017 was announced. Plans are to revamp Alitalia with new routes, improved products and service standards, updated branding and an improved cost management strategy.