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Bids for Air Berlin, Germany's second-biggest airline
September 21, 2017 / 10:08 AM / in a month

Bids for Air Berlin, Germany's second-biggest airline

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) heads a list of carriers interested in taking on parts of bankrupt Air Berlin (AB1.DE).

More than 8,000 jobs are at stake, along with smaller parts of the group including Austrian carrier Niki, a fleet of about 140 mostly leased aircraft, and take-off and landing rights.

Administrators are scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss offers for Air Berlin’s assets with a final decision to be taken by the airline’s supervisory board on Sept 25.

Following are details of who wants what:

LUFTHANSA (LHAG.DE)

Its chief executive said the airline could take on up to 80 aircraft with a focus on 38 crewed planes it already leases from Air Berlin, mainly for its Eurowings operation.

EASYJET (EZJ.L)

Media reports have said the British budget airline is interested in up to 40 aircraft while easyJet has confirmed only that it has bid for parts of the short-haul business.

“The proposal is consistent with easyJet’s focused, city-based strategy in Germany,” it said.

THOMAS COOK‘S (TCG.L) CONDOR, NIKI LAUDA

Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda has told Austrian media he and airline Condor, part of travel company Thomas Cook, are interested in buying Niki plus 17 aircraft under a 100-million-euro ($120 million) joint bid.

Thomas Cook has declined to comment.

RYANAIR (RYA.I)

The Irish low-cost carrier said in late August it would not bid for any Air Berlin assets, with its Chief Executive Michael O‘Leary describing the carve-up process as “a stitch-up”.

IAG (ICAG.L)

The owner of British Airways is another bidder, sources have told Reuters. German news agency DPA-AFX reported on Wednesday that IAG was interested in Niki. IAG declined comment.

ZEITFRACHT

German family-owned logistics firm Zeitfracht has offered to buy Air Berlin’s cargo marketing platform Leisure Cargo GmbH, its maintenance business and regional unit Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter GmbH, which operates 20 Bombardier (BBDb.TO) aircraft.

It said it expected its proposal would safeguard around 1,000 jobs. It declined to say how much it had offered to pay.

HANS RUDOLF WOEHRL

The aviation investor has said he had submitted a 500 million euro offer to buy Air Berlin as a whole. He plans to pay an initial 50 million euros and the rest in installments.

In late August, Woehrl said he planned to bid together with partners, although Lufthansa had turned down his offer to team up. He has proposed keeping Air Berlin intact as a charter airline rather than carving it up.

LINKGLOBAL LOGISTICS

China’s LinkGlobal Logistics submitted a binding offer on Sept. 21. A person familiar with the matter said it was offering 600 million euros for Air Berlin and has said it would take on the airline’s entire workforce.

UTZ CLAASSEN

Media reports have said Utz Claassen, former head of utility EnBW (EBKG.DE), was interested in Air Berlin.

German daily Handelsblatt reported that he had put up 100 million euros to buy Air Berlin and has pledged an additional 600 million euros in liquidity.

Claassen has declined to say whether he was involved, citing confidentiality.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Victoria Bryan and Klaus Lauer; Editing by Keith Weir

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