ANA Aeroportos de Portugal potential bidders reportedly submitted their non-binding offers for the Portuguese airport operator, with CCR of Brazil, Odinsa of Colombia and Corporación América of Argentina reportedly among the parties moving forward in the process, according to a report by Jornal de Negocios. Odinsa is reportedly the lead in a consortium with Portuguese industrial conglomerate Mota-Engil, according to a Diario Economico report. Portuguese highway management company Brisa reportedly decided not to proceed, with an unnamed official stating, "Current market conditions imply that in order to gain a controlling position in ANA, even jointly [with a partner], it was necessary to involve significantly more capital, which isn't compatible with [our current situation]." Meanwhile, ANA's final offer submission deadline will reportedly be in 2012, with the expected takeover date to be in 2013, according to a Publico report.
ANA potential bidders submit non-binding offers, Brisa drops out
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TAP Portugal: ownership changes almost complete, while Azul relationship starts to bear fruit
TAP Portugal's new shareholder Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which includes David Neeleman, the Chairman of Brazilian LCC Azul, has prompted a number of changes. Atlantic Gateway's investment in Nov-2015 has led to a commercial relationship with Azul, giving TAP customers access to domestic destinations in Brazil and giving Azul customers access to TAP's Brazil-Portugal network. There are also signs that the two will reshuffle some routes between them as Azul commences European flights. Moreover, TAP will benefit by receiving aircraft previously ordered by Azul.
Although Atlantic Gateway originally took a 61% stake, it was subsequently agreed that this would be scaled back to 45%, with the Portuguese government regaining a 50% holding and 5% available for employees. An intriguing prospect now is that the Azul shareholder HNA Group may also become a TAP shareholder directly.
TAP reported a loss for 2015 but its ownership and long haul development are more assured now than for some time. Nevertheless, the erosion of its market share on European routes is an ongoing threat. The CEO of Ryanair, which is number two to TAP on Portugal-Western Europe, recently claimed that his airline would overtake it in Portugal in the next couple of years. A strategy to counter this threat is vital.
LOT Polish Airlines: now restructured, and long haul focus is on 2020 growth. Partnerships critical
On 8-Sep-2016 LOT Polish Airlines announced its "2020 profitable growth strategy". This involves a goal to achieve "sustainable viability", after a restructuring programme which returned LOT to operating profit in 2014 after six loss-making years. Its privatisation may even be back on the agenda.
LOT currently ranks behind LCCs Ryanair and Wizz Air by share of traffic in Poland, which offers superior traffic growth potential versus Europe as a whole. The airline aims to increase passenger numbers from 4.3 million in 2015 to 10 million in 2020, growing its fleet from 43 to 70 aircraft. LOT's expansion will focus on long haul, particularly North America and Asia, where it currently has only five routes and where competition is considerably lower than on short/medium haul. Initial plans include the launch of Warsaw-Seoul this winter and a return to Warsaw-New York Newark next summer.
According to data from LOT, its restructuring has left it with a fairly efficient cost base by legacy airline standards and this will be important in competing with LCCs (but there is still a cost gap with LCCs). LOT's growth will focus on long haul but will need short-haul European feed – and partnerships. Although LOT no longer appears to be considering leaving the Star Alliance, it remains excluded from American and Asian JVs. Further, those JVs preclude members from working with LOT. Partnership growth will be as critical as it will be challenging.