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Only Lufthansa made bid for Austrian Airlines takeover

Latest update : 2008-10-21

German's Lufthansa was the only airline company to propose a takeover bid for troubled Austrian Airlines after the bidding deadline passed. Two contenders, Air France and Russian S7, expressd interest but stopped short of a formal offer.

German airline Lufthansa is the only contender to have launched a takeover bid for ailing flag-carrier Austrian Airlines, a source close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday after a bidding deadline passed.

Lufthansa was the only one of the three interested companies to have lodged a firm bid for the airline (AUA), the source said, contradicting an earlier media report.

Air France-KLM and S7 of Russia had also expressed interest but did not present a formal offer.

Air France-KLM is still interested in further discussions but "the economic and financial context... do not allow us to make a firm bid as demanded by the seller," a spokeswoman for the Franco-Dutch group said.

The deadline for firm offers passed at 1000 GMT on Tuesday after months of media speculation about which airlines might step in to help take over AUA during difficult times for the airline sector.

The state-owned holding company OeIAG is looking for a buyer for its 42.75-percent stake in AUA, after the Austrian government gave it until the end of the year to find a partner.

Austrian Airlines has nearly 900 million euros (1.3 billion dollars) of debt. It sustained a first-half loss of 48.7 million euros this year and is projecting a full-year loss of up to 90 million euros.

According to terms of the sale, 25 percent of AUA's capital must remain in Austrian hands so as to safeguard jobs and maintain Vienna as the airline's main hub.

Date created : 2008-10-21

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