German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa (Lufthansa) has submitted an offer to acquire a stake in the Italian loss-making national carrier ITA Airways.

In its proposal, the German airline said that it intends to initially pick a minority stake in ITA, with an option to acquire the remaining stake at a later stage.

However, it did not disclose financial details.

According to Bloomberg, Lufthansa plans to buy as much as 40% of the Alitalia successor in a first step.

The stake is valued at €200m-€300m, stated Reuters citing a source familiar with the development.

In a statement, Lufthansa said: “Today, the company submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (Ministero dell’economia e delle finanze) to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this respect.

“For Lufthansa Group, Italy is the most important market outside of its home markets and the US. Italy’s importance for both business and private travel lies in its strong export-oriented economy and status as one of Europe’s top vacation spots.”

Depending on the MoU, both parties will get involved in further exclusive talks.

These discussions would prioritise the form of a possible equity investment, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into Lufthansa, as well as resulting synergies.

Lufthansa added: “In case of a binding agreement is reached, its implementation would be subject to approval by the relevant authorities.”

The carrier initially placed a joint bid with shipping firm MSC for the ITA deal but was left to pursue it solo after MSC dropped out from the race in November last year. 

In a separate development, Air France-KLM has also confirmed its intention to withdraw from the deal.

Last November, the Italian Government invested $400m in ITA Airways as it intended to sell the airline.

The investment from the government allowed the company to stay afloat amid a slower-than-expected sale process.

Alitalia stopped operations after accumulating a debt exceeding $11bn.