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Austrian Airlines' fate unclear amid speculation


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Austrian Airlines' fate unclear amid speculation

The Associated Press

Published: October 22, 2008

 

 

VIENNA, Austria: The fate of Austrian Airlines was unclear Wednesday amid speculation about offers for a stake in the ailing flagship carrier.

 

Austria's government decided in August to privatize Austrian Airlines, which is steeped in debt and just last week announced it expects a net loss of up to €125 million (US$161 million) for the 2008 fiscal year.

 

A day after a deadline for bids expired, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany's biggest airline, had no comment. In Russia, an official at S7 Airlines said a bid had been submitted. Air France-KLM said late Tuesday it had not made an offer. All three airlines had been considered key contenders in the past weeks.

 

Austrian Airlines and the country's privatization and investment agency, OeIAG, declined to disclose details or provide confirmation Wednesday.

 

But Werner Faymann, the country's top Social Democrat and infrastructure minister, said in comments quoted by the Austria Press Agency that a "binding" offer had been made. His office did not respond to a call asking for clarification.

 

 

Faymann also suggested that, in the event no partner is found, the state would have to consider intervening with an increase in capital.

 

Austria's government holds a stake of roughly 42 percent in Austrian Airlines. It has said that a condition of the sale was that 25 percent remain in Austrian hands — a point Faymann reiterated Wednesday.

 

Austrian Airlines shares were down about 30 percent in afternoon trade on Vienna's stock exchange.

 

 

fonte: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/10/22/...an-Airlines.php

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