Italy's state railway Ferrovie dello Stato has picked motorway operator Atlantia as a partner to join a consortium of investors for the rescue of national carrier Alitalia, Ferrovie said. 

Atlantia will join Ferrovie, the finance ministry and US carrier Delta in a state-orchestrated effort to relaunch the ailing airline with an overall capital injection of around €1 billion. 

Besides Atlantia, infrastructure group Toto Holding, Lazio soccer club chairman Claudio Lotito and airline entrepreneur German Efromovich sent in non-binding proposals on Sunday to Ferrovie adviser Mediobanca to join the consortium. 

Atlantia is expected to take a 35-40% stake in Alitalia, meaning an investment for the Benetton family-controlled group of between €300-400m. 

Ferrovie and the finance ministry will have an overall stake of 50% in the new company, while Delta is committed to acquiring around 10-15% of the carrier. 

Ferrovie will start working as soon as possible with the partners it picked to draw up a business plan and other elements of a potential offer, the company said in a statement issued after a board meeting held yesterday. 

However, binding offers and a business plan for Alitalia might be finalised only in September, a source close to the situation told Reuters. 

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said he was not prejudiced against Atlantia but picking the company did not mean Rome would ditch a plan to revoke its motorway concession after a bridge operated by the group collapsed last year in Genoa, killing 43 people.