CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) – Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) plans to bid for a contract in the United States with an overall value of $20 billion, Chief Executive Gianfranco Battisti said on Saturday.

The bid is part of FS’s efforts to branch out of its traditional market, a strategy which has also seen the Italian railways group leading the attempted rescue of failing flagship carrier Alitalia.

“Exploring international markets is an important part of our industrial plan,” Battisti said on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti business forum in Cernobbio.

“In the world there are a lot of opportunities to develop motorway and railway infrastructures and we have the skills to do that,” he added.

He said the U.S. contract involved maintenance operations in the cities of Los Angeles and Washington.

Asked about a possible delay of a Sept. 15 deadline to present a plan for the rescue of Alitalia, Battisti said: “We will meet with the new Italian government and then define the timing of the deal”.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that FS and the other bidders were expected to ask the government for more time to submit their proposals.

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