Royal Jordanian readies bid for Austrian Airlines
Vienna, July 18, 2008
Jordan's airline Royal Jordanian is preparing an offer for the Austrian state's stake in loss-making Austrian Airlines and may file it as early as next week, an Austrian newspaper reported on Friday.
Royal Jordanian, which was the first Arab airline to be privatised last year, has hired PricewaterhouseCooper to advise it on the bid, Austria's Wiener Zeitung daily reported, quoting unidentified diplomatic sources.
A spokeswoman for the Austrian government's holding company OeIAG declined to comment on the report. She said OeIAG was not entitled to discuss a sale of its stake before it received a government mandate to sell it.
Royal Jordanian was not immediately available to comment. The Austrian government has asked Boston Consulting Group and Merrill Lynch to review the options for the carrier, which last month predicted it would make a loss of up to 90 million euros ($143 million) this year due to rising kerosene prices.
The review will be presented to Austrian Airline's supervisory board on July 28. The outgoing Austrian government is deeply split about a possible sale of the stake.
Austrian Airline's shares hit all-time lows this month as oil prices climbed to record highs. It closed at 2.39 euros on Thursday, having lost 62 percent so far this year.-Reuters