January 15, 2018 / 10:06 PM / 10 months ago

Swiss airline Belair taken over by investment company SBC

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss airline Belair, formerly part of collapsed low-cost carrier Air Berlin AB1.DE, has been taken over by German investment company SBC.

SBC, based in Duesseldorf, said on Monday it wanted flights to resume as soon as possible and former Belair staff would be offered their jobs back after it made a deal with Air Berlin’s administrators.

A spokesman for SBC declined to say how much it paid for the low-cost Swiss airline, which had sales of around 90 million Swiss francs ($93.47 million) in 2016.

The takeover is the latest chapter in the breakup of Air Berlin’s business, with Austrian low-cost airline Niki also attracting interest from fresh bidders.

Around 200 Belair staff lost their jobs when it closed last year following the collapse of parent company Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August 2017 and halted operations at the end of October.

“We have laid the foundation for reactivating Belair,” said SBC board member Juergen Bremer in a statement. He said the company had a long tradition, motivated workforce and an excellent reputation.

“We want to use this potential in a new business model,” he said.

Talks with potential clients are under way, but it has not been decided when the airline will relaunch and what name it will use.

Earlier on Monday the German administrator of insolvent airline Niki said he still wanted to sell the leisure carrier to British Airways parent IAG (ICAG.L) despite a battle between Austria and Germany over where insolvency proceedings should be handled.

Meanwhile Irish airline Ryanair (RYA.I) also expressed an interest in buying some of Niki’s assets, and former Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has re-emerged as a potential bidder for the business he founded, ahead of a Jan. 19 deadline for fresh offers an Austrian court has set.

Niki, another unit of collapsed German carrier Air Berlin, filed for insolvency in Berlin in December after Lufthansa [LHAG.DE] scrapped plans to buy part of it.

Reporting by John Revill; editing by Andrew Roche

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