* Filing made with Austrian Cartel Authority on Dec. 4
* Air Berlin shareholder Etihad seeks sole control of
* Sale forms part of restructuring programme at Air Berlin
* Air Berlin, Etihad say will give details once deal is done
(Adds details, Air Berlin comment)
FRANKFURT, Dec 5 Gulf carrier Etihad Airways
intends to take control of Air Berlin's frequent flyer
loyalty programme Topbonus Ltd, according to a filing placed
with competition regulator the Austrian Cartel Authority on
Air Berlin said last month it was in advanced talks to sell
a majority shareholding in TopBonus and that it expected to
conclude a deal by the end of this year. It declined to give
details on the potential buyer at that time.
Asked to comment on Wednesday, Air Berlin and Etihad, which
owns a 29.12 percent stake in the German carrier, only said they
would disclose more details once negotiations were concluded.
The Austrian regulator said on its website that it was
informed of the merger plans on Dec. 4.
Air Berlin, which has not made an operating profit since
2007, plans to disclose details of a plan to rationalise the
business by the end of the year.
The airline, Germany's second biggest after Lufthansa
, had said last month it was confident the sale of
TopBonus would help narrow the operating loss for this year.
Its shares were up 0.4 percent at 1.36 euros at 1204 GMT.
(Reporting By Marilyn Gerlach in Frankfurt and Stanley Carvalho
in Abu Dhabi; Editing by Greg Mahlich)