Germany's Lufthansa bids for Thomas Cook's Condor

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Lufthansa will make an offer for Thomas Cook’s German airline Condor with an option to acquire the remaining airlines of the British travel group, Lufthansa’s CEO said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A Lufthansa Airbus A321-100 airplane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File Photo

Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr added it was unlikely a single buyer could acquire all Thomas Cook airlines due to antitrust regulations and declined to comment on the offer price.

“We decided yesterday in the meeting of the management board to bid for all of Condor with the option to be able to extend this (bid) to all Thomas Cook airlines,” Spohr said on the sidelines of Lufthansa’s annual general meeting in Bonn.

Thomas Cook shares were up more than 10 percent while Lufthansa shares declined 1.4 percent.

Thomas Cook put its profitable airlines business up for sale in February after profit warnings in 2018 left it needing to raise cash.

The indebted travel group’s airlines business consists of Germany’s Condor, as well as British, Scandinavian and Spanish operations.

Sources said earlier this month that Indigo Partners and Lufthansa were most interested in the business, with a deadline of May 7 set for expressions of interest.

Lufthansa’s Spohr earlier this year said his company will be an active player in consolidation among European airlines.

Lufthansa, which owns airlines like Swiss and Austrian Airlines, has also expressed its interest in Italian flagship carrier Alitalia.

Spohr on Tuesday reiterated that Lufthansa would only be interested in the loss-making company if it were restructured and the Italian government left out.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Tassilo Hummel/Keith Weir