Air Berlin to be delisted; Etihad ups stake to 49.9pc
Abu Dhabi, March 22, 2014
German airline Air Berlin , which is almost 30 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, will be delisted, with Etihad raising its stake to 49.9 per cent, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported on Saturday.
Citing company sources, the magazine said that a group of German shareholders, among them former and current company executives, would raise their stakes to hold more than 50 per cent between them, preserving the carrier's German status.
Smaller investors, which account for 38.5 per cent of the group's shares, would be bought out, WirtschaftsWoche said.
It said Air Berlin, Germany's No.2 airline after Lufthansa, needed to remain German so as not to lose its landing slot rights outside the European Union.
Officials at Air Berlin were not immediately available for comment.
Air Berlin said on Wednesday it was in advanced talks over options that would have a substantial impact on the airline if implemented, without being more specific.
It said it was therefore pushing back its annual results by a week to March 27.
The airline ran into financial problems after expanding too rapidly in the last decade. It faces stiff competition from the likes of easyJet, which is expanding in Germany and trying to tempt business customers in Europe's largest economy.
Etihad has been building a network of airlines by buying up minority stakes as it seeks to divert more passengers from its partners' planes to its Abu Dhabi hub.-Reuters