Etihad Airways is close to an agreement to become Alitalia’s biggest investor, after studying the Italian carrier’s books for the past weeks, Bloomberg has reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier confirmed in December that it’s in talks with Alitalia, and the company said in February that it would decide within a month whether to invest in the unprofitable airline. The two sides may sign a letter of intent as early as this week, said the people. Etihad, the Abu Dhabi flag carrier, is considering a cash contribution of at least €250m ($343m), two of the people said. The accord isn’t final and a deal may still fall apart, another person said.