Etihad to buy stake in top German carrier
Frankfurt, December 6, 2011
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, plans to take a minority stake in Germany's second-biggest carrier Air Berlin via a capital increase, Manager Magazin reported on its website, citing industry sources.
Air Berlin will announce this week that Etihad, the magazine said.
It said Air Berlin's board would hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
'There will be a normal board meeting that has been planned for months, at which the company's results will be discussed,' said an Air Berlin spokesman who declined further comment.
Shares of Air Berlin rose as much as 5.7 per cent and were up 3.7 per cent at 2.58 euros by 1408 GMT.
German media reported two weeks ago that Air Berlin, Germany's No.2 after Lufthansa, was looking for a partner and was in talks with both Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and China's HNA Group, owner of Hainan Airlines.
Air Berlin has had a rocky ride so far this year, with founder and Chief Executive Joachim Hunold stepping down in August after failing to deliver profit for several years.
The company already has several major shareholders. Turkey's ESAS Holding, owned by the Sabanci family, has a 16.5 per cent stake and TUI Travel Plc holds 6.9 per cent, according to Air Berlin's website. – Reuters