Aegean offers new concessions to get EU okay for Olympic deal

BRUSSELS Fri Aug 9, 2013 7:34am EDT

Commuters stand in front of electronic check-in machines of Aegean airlines inside Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos airport October 23, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Commuters stand in front of electronic check-in machines of Aegean airlines inside Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos airport October 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Greece's Aegean Airlines (AGNr.AT) has offered new concessions to gain EU antitrust approval for its second attempt to take over rival Olympic Air, indicating an earlier offer had failed to ease competition concerns over the deal.

Faced with declining traffic in its domestic market due to the country's prolonged recession, loss-making Aegean has said the proposed 72-million-euro ($96.38 million) acquisition was crucial for its survival.

It submitted a fresh set of concessions to the European Commission on Thursday, the Commission's website showed. The EU competition authority did not provide details in line with its policy.

Aegean offered in March to cap fares on some domestic routes but this failed to stop the regulator from widening its investigation into the deal, worried that the combined entity would have a monopoly or strong position on some of these routes.

The Commission extended its deadline for a decision on the deal to October 16 from September 25. It blocked Aegean's 2011 bid to purchase Olympic because of the combined company's quasi-monopoly in the Greek air travel market.

Investment group Marfin (MRFr.AT) is the owner of Olympic.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Adrian Croft)

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