Air France CFO sent letter of complaint to Alitalia: newspaper

Reuters
Philippe Calavia, Chief Financial Officer Air France-KLM, speaks during the presentation of the company's 2010-2011 full year results in Paris
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Philippe Calavia, Chief Financial Officer Air France-KLM, speaks during the presentation of the company's 2010-2011 full year results in Paris May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

MILAN (Reuters) - Air France (AF.PA) CFO Philippe Calavia complained in a letter to Alitalia that the Italian carrier had failed to inform its French partner properly about key meetings aimed at approving a much-needed capital hike, an Italian newspaper said.

Alitalia, in which Air France is the biggest investor with 25 percent, approved at an all-night shareholder meeting on October 14 a 300 million euro capital injection.

In the three-page letter, which was quoted in Italian daily Il Messaggero, Calavia said the loss-making Italian carrier had not provided Air France any written information either about the company's industrial or financing plans, before or after key recent board and shareholder meetings.

What little information there was had been given "orally and in a cryptic way", often just in Italian, the newspaper said, quoting the letter.

Calavia was also quoted as saying Air France representatives on Alitalia's board were alerted of the October 14 board meeting only hours before it started, preventing the French directors from attending in person.

Moreover, the Internet kept on breaking down, disrupting the board discussion because some directors were connected via a videolink, the letter said.

"The information should have been passed on ahead of time to everyone, at the same time and in both languages, Italian and English," said Calavia, according to Il Messaggero.

Alitalia and Air France declined to comment on the letter.

Alitalia has not made a profit for more than a decade, and the 300 million-euro cash call - which Air France approved - is seen as only a stop-gap measure before talks on a possible tie-up between Alitalia and Air France.

But Air France has not yet decided whether it wants to join the cash call, and has in any case said that the struggling airline needed further, deeper restructuring.

(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Additional reporting from Cyril Altmeyer; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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