* Lufthansa says in talks with sector heavyweights
* Lufthansa eyes non-binding offers in May
* Deutsche Telekom says not interested
(Adds company source on bidders)
FRANKFURT, April 22 Lufthansa's IT
infrastructure business, which the airline is trying to sell, is
drawing interest from big IT groups IBM, Hewlett-Packard
and France's Atos, a source familiar with the
matter told Reuters.
The German airline earlier this month said it was seeking a
buyer for the business, part of its IT unit Lufthansa Systems,
and has already held some early talks with interested parties.
The infrastructure business, which provides data centres,
networks and telephony, requires a high level of investment and
economies of scale are critical, Lufthansa said then, explaining
its decision to exit.
Deutsche Telekom unit T-Systems had also
considered the sale, but then decided not to make an offer, the
A spokesman for Telekom said the company was not interested
in buying the Lufthansa unit.
IBM and HP declined to comment, while Atos was not
immediately available for comment.
"We are in talks with several sector heavyweights about a
takeover of the IT infrastructure, and we want to secure most of
the jobs following a sale," Lufthansa's Chief Financial Officer
Simone Menne told German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
FAZ in an interview published on Tuesday.
The paper was the first to report the interested parties.
According to the plans, Lufthansa Systems will be divided
into three parts - Infrastructure, Airline Solutions and
Industry Solutions. The infrastructure division, which employs
1,400 people, will be sold, while the other two will remain
within the Lufthansa group.
While the infrastructure business accounted for 40 percent
of Systems' total turnover of 640 million euros ($883.45
million), it made up only 25 percent of the unit's profit.
Lufthansa expects non-binding offers to be made in May.
Analysts expect bids to be in the tens of million euros.
($1 = 0.7244 Euros)
(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Additional reporting by
Christoph Steitz and Astrid Wendlandt; Writing by Victoria
Bryan; Editing by Philipp Halstrick and Louise Heavens)