As of this weekend, reports out of Italy are that the EU Commission is leaning toward approving AZ's restructuring plan. Plan calls for the company to be split in two, AZFly and AZService. They are awaiting guarantees from banks that the recapitalization will have no government backing.
AZService would be sold off to Fintecna (wholly owned by the Italian government) for $282M. (If that's not a subsidy, I don't know what is).
AZ got approval from the EU Commission last year for a $513M "loan" from the Italian government, to be repaid within one year and for the government to reduce their stake in the carrier from 62% now, to below 50%.
AZ started drawing on the "loan" in January. BA & LH have complained to the EU Commission that AZ has used this money to reduce fares and expand services in Eastern Europe, something which is was not meant for. Accordingly, as they have already appointed Ernst&Young to look into possible "illegal" state aid in the recapitalization plan, they have also asked them to look into the allegations of unfair pricing.
Yesterday, the Italian treasury called on AZ to seek an "industrial partner", a move that raises expectations of a tie-up with AF/KLM (What's new?).
Cimoli, AZ CEO, is pressing AF/KLM to issue lettes of intent to purchase shares in AZ when the Italian government reduces its stake. AF/KLM spokesperson denied that the group was looking to purchase shares in AZ.
My gut feeling is that the EU Commission will approve this plan come hell or high water, because there are too much politics involved. Both Chiraq and Berlusconi have stated they want to see a merged AF/KLM & AZ, and what they want they usually get.
There are a lot of discussions on these forums on A vs B, subsidies this, subsidies that. I think this is exactly the same, and should be given the contempt it deserves.