Lufthansa has reportedly confirmed its interest in buying Spanish national carrier Iberia. (4/16/2007)
According to news.bbc.co.uk, German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported that Lufthansa boss Wolfgang Mayrhuber had put together a team of managers and outside experts to analyse a possible counter bid for Iberia. It added that a combined Lufthansa-Iberia would create a European giant carrying about 70 million passengers a year, rivalling current European market leader Air France-KLM.
“A deal in April is possible,” WirtschaftsWoche reported. “If someone else now goes and buys Iberia, it’ll either be off the market or it’ll be on offer at an even higher price in two years time.” Recently, Mayrhuber reportedly said Lufthansa, brimming with funds, aimed to play a central role in the wave of consolidation sweeping Europe’s airline industry.
“Mayrhuber was clearly alluding to the onerous terms imposed by the Italian state on the sale of Alitalia. Rome insists that any buyer maintains chronic over-manning and loss-making domestic routes, even though the strike-plagued carrier is losing a €1.2m (Ł817,000) a day, according to a media report. “Italy’s business federation Confindustria said it would take a “kamikaze” buyer to take on the crippled carrier under such terms. In the end, just three suitors have stayed the course including Russia’s Aeroflot.”
“In the case of Iberia it’s a matter of price, which is undoubtledly overheated after all this takeover talk,” reportedly said Mayrhuber. “Besides another big European airline [British Airways] already has a 10pc state in Iberia.”
Meanwhile, Spain’s Iberia said it required more information from suitor Texas Pacific Group regarding its 3.4 billion euro (2.3 billion pounds) bid for the airline.
“With regards to the information given to Reuters yesterday ... the board ... needs more information and details about the proposal, in particular greater information about the structure of the approach with regards to a possible industry partner,” the airline said in a statement.