Company Watch - Air Berlin.
Air Berlin announced plans on Sept. 20 to buy the German charter carrier Condor from Lufthansa in a two-stage deal that could land Thomas Cook a near 30 percent stake in Air Berlin. The deal would see Air Berlin expand its fleet to around 160 planes, become Germany's second and Europe's fifth-biggest airline and give it a similar scale to low-cost rivals Ryanair and easyJet. It would be Air Berlin's third acquisition within a year, having already bought domestic rivals DBA and LTU. Sep 20, 2007
Air Berlin is to open a new route from London Stansted to Munich on November 5, 2007. The airline will fly twice-daily from Monday to Friday and once on Saturday and Sunday, competing head on with easyJet, which also offer two departures in each direction, but daily. From Heathrow bmi, British Airways and Lufthansa offer a multitude of flights, while at London City, Lufthansa goes twice-daily Monday to Friday. Air Berlin claims to have very competitive fares and unlike its established rival on the route, offers allocated seats, complementary in-flight sandwiches, soft drinks, newspapers and its own frequent flyer scheme. Children also have a 33% discount. The airline serves eight points direct from Stansted: to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Leipzig, Munich, Munster, Nuremberg and Paderborn. Sep 20, 2007
Air Berlin CEO Sees No Takeover. Air Berlin was undervalued but expected no takeover of the carrier, its chief executive told a German magazine. Sep 17, 2007
Air Berlin was undervalued but expected no takeover of the carrier, its chief executive told a German magazine. The carrier, which has recently expanded its network through the purchase of domestic rival DBA and charter carrier LTU, has been the subject of takeover speculation in recent months. Deutsche Bank said this week it had raised its stake in the airline to 16.36 percent, but that its holding was purely financial and not strategic. Hunold said there was no reason to doubt Deutsche Bank's comment, although the carrier was "fully undervalued". Sep 17, 2007
Thomas Cook, Europe's second-largest travel firm, will sell Condor to Air Berlin in two stages: 75.1 percent in February 2009, and the remainder in February 2010 after Thomas Cook has exercised an option to buy Lufthansa's stake in Condor. It is also subject to Lufthansa not exercising a pre-emption right to buy the Condor shares that Air Berlin is buying. In return Thomas Cook will take up to a 29.9 percent stake in Air Berlin worth between EUR380 million and EUR475 million, gain three seats on the airline's board and receive around EUR120 million in cash. Sep 20, 2007
Thomas Cook joint chief executive, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, told reporters that the structure of the deal meant he did not expect it to trigger Lufthansa's right to buy the Condor shares, but a Lufthansa spokeswoman said she expected it would. Thomas Cook's majority owner Arcandor demanded that Lufthansa decide within a week whether it would exercise its option but Lufthansa said it would not be rushed, adding it had until 2009 to decide. The firms said they would save around EUR70 million a year by putting the two airlines together, adding they expected very few job losses. Keeping Thomas Cook's stake just below 30 percent would allow it to avoid making a mandatory takeover offer for Air Berlin. Sep 20, 2007
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