Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Lufthansa Prepares to Buy Parts of Air Berlin in $1.8 Billion Deal

Lufthansa Prepares to Buy Parts of Air Berlin in $1.8 Billion Deal

Ryanair is set to challenge a Lufthansa deal to to buy parts of failed German carrier Air Berlin.

Lufthansa would be interested if there was an opportunity to create a new Alitalia, the German flagship carrier's Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said on Thursday.

Air Berlin said that Lufthansa would pay 210 million euros for Air Berlin assets, enabling it to repay a 150 million credit from the German federal government that had allowed it to keep flying.

A Lufthansa spokesman declined to provide further details because the agreement had not yet been signed.

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Air Berlin, which once employed around 8,000 people, filed for bankruptcy in August after its funding was cut off by Etihad, one of its major shareholders.

Lufthansa plans to use Air Berlin planes to expand its Eurowings budget airline business.

Lufthansa CEO Spohr said that he expected the imminent deal for Lufthansa with Air Berlin would receive necessary approval from the European Union before the end of 2017.

Shares in Lufthansa rose 2.8% in Frankfurt.

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Germany's second-largest carrier has since been negotiating with potential buyers for parts of its business.

Last month it said negotiations it was holding with Lufthansa as well as easyJet, based in Britain, would continue until October 12.

In 2016, Air Berlin showed a record 782 million euros in losses - a 75 per cent increase compared to 2015 - which the company attributed to restructuring costs and depreciation.

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