France, Portugal among eight nations set for UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs
Air France-KLM, whose 25 percent stake would drop by more than half if it doesnt subscribe to a capital increase, has about a month to decide. The capital increase is part of a 500 million-euro ($677 million) bailout engineered under government supervision last week as Alitalias reserves dwindled, competition intensifies and its fuel supplier threatened to halt deliveries. Air France-KLM itself lost money last year and is eliminating thousands of jobs to turn around domestic operations, raising objections to fund a partner that has been unprofitable for years. Alitalia has a persistent track record of losses and requirements for new capital, said Damian Brewer, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets . So if Air France refrains from putting cash in, so what? The dilutions done. But in most investors minds, its already written down to zero. Air France-KLMs stake in Alitalia, acquired in 2009, would require the airline to commit about 75 million euros to anchor its holding. The capital increase will comprise 300 million euros of the package. Little Appetite Alitalias board met yesterday. Cedric Leurquin, a spokesman for Air France, declined to comment. The airlines stance on Alitalia is preliminary and the company may reconsider its commitment if conditions change, two of the people said. The French airline gave a taste of its reluctance for an Italian bailout in September, when the board met to consider raising its stake and ended up saying it needed more information from its Italian partner before making a decision. Italy s postal company Poste Italiane SpA agreed to contribute 75 million euros, UniCredit SpA (UCG) and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) will guarantee as much as 100 million euros for eventual unopted rights in the capital increase for Alitalia, which is losing 1.5 million euros a day. Failure to invest now would dilute Air Frances stake to about 11 percent, Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said Oct.
The cash call, part of a wider bailout, is seen as only a stop-gap solution before talks on a possible tie-up between Alitalia and Air France-KLM. Massimo Sarmi, the head of Italy’s post office, which has agreed to commit 75 million euros to the capital increase, was flying to Paris to discuss matters with Air France, a second source told Reuters. An Air France-KLM spokesman declined to comment. Alitalia came close to being grounded last weekend after its major creditor Eni (ENI.MI) threatened to cut off fuel supplies. Rome has patched together an emergency 500 million-euro fund, persuading the state-owned post office to take part and banks Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) and Unicredit (CRDI.MI) to provide guarantees of up to 100 million euros. A broader consortium of banks would put up 200 million in existing and new loans. Intesa, which is also an Alitalia shareholder, said in a statement it would subscribe to its quota of the cash call, or 26 million euros, on top of the bank guarantee of up to 50 million euros. But Alitalia still needs to find about 100 million euros more from its shareholders, who have 30 days to decide whether to sign up. That gives Air France considerable leverage. The Franco-Dutch carrier was barred from a full takeover of Alitalia in late 2008 by then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Alitalia has lost 700,000 euros a day since then and Italy’s current government and Alitalia shareholders hope to persuade Air France to join the capital increase. So far the parties have failed to agree financial commitments and business strategy.
Tour de France-Individual Youth Stage Results
15. Michal Kwiatkowski, Poland, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 16. Alexis Vuillermoz, France, Sojasun, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 17. Tom Dumoulin, Netherlands, Team Argos-Shimano, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 18. Romain Sicard, France, Euskaltel — Euskadi, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 19. Rudy Molard, France, Cofidis, Solutions Credits, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 20. Alexandre Geniez, France, FDJ, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds behind. 21. Elia Favilli, Italy, Lampre — Merida, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 43 seconds behind. 22.
France beat Finland 3-0 in its last Group game, but Spain’s win over Georgia ensured Les Bleus were consigned to second, while Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates finished a point behind Fabio Capello’s Russia in Group F. The one UEFA group runner-up that will miss out on a playoff spot due to its worst record against the first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-placed sides is Denmark due to there only being eight spots up for grabs. Group B’s race for second between four teams – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Armenia and the Danes – went down to the wire, and the way the countries took points off each other worked against them in the end. Sweden was the only team heading into the final round of matches to be guaranteed to be in the playoffs, with Germany a distant Group C winner, no teams challenging for second place and the bottom-placed team already decided. The second team to know its playoff fate was Greece, as Bosnia and Herzegovina won to deny the Euro 2004 winner automatic entry to the World Cup. Croatia already bagged second place in Group A and was able to avoid missing out on the playoffs despite losing 2-0 to Scotland in its final game on Tuesday. Iceland, which has never reached a major international tournament in its footballing history, will be delighted to have a crack at World Cup 2014 qualification after Slovenia was defeated 1-0 by Group E winners Switzerland, meaning the Scandinavians’ 1-1 draw with Norway was enough to finish second. Turkey’s 2-0 defeat to Netherlands ensured that Romania finished ahead of its Group D runner-up challengers, and Fatih Terim’s men slipped from second to fourth, with Hungary hopping into third with its 2-0 win over Andorra. The final spot on Tuesday went to Ukraine, which hammered San Marino 8-0 but was pipped to first place in Group H by England. The draw for the two-legged ties will take place Oct. 21 in Zurich. The seeded sides are Croatia, Portugal, Greece and Ukraine, with France, Sweden, Romania and Iceland set to be the unseeded four sides. Sports & Recreation