Lufthansa and United weigh takeover of Portugal's TAP: Sueddeutsche

FILE PHOTO: The first A330neo commercial passenger aircraft for TAP Air Portugal airline is seen at the Airbus delivery center in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa LHAG.DE and United Airlines UAL.O are considering taking over TAP-Air Portugal, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, citing unidentified corporate sources, said talks were not close to a conclusion and the process could take some time.

The three airlines, all members of the Star Alliance, declined to comment.

TAP, which was partly privatized in 2015, is 50%-owned by the Portuguese state. Private consortium Atlantic Gateway, led by Brazilian-U.S. airline mogul David Neeleman, has a 45% stake. TAP employees hold the remaining 5%.

Lufthansa earlier on Wednesday announced a cost savings programme, including a suspension of new recruitment, to counter the business impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach in Frankfurt, Andrei Khalip in Lisbon, and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Mark Potter