European Commission cleared (09-Oct-2013) the proposed acquisition of Olympic Air by Aegean Airlines. The Commission's investigation found Olympic Air would be forced to exit the market in the near future due to financial difficulties if not acquired by Aegean Airlines. Following Olympic's exit, Aegean would become the only significant domestic service provider and would capture Olympic's current market shares. Therefore, with or without the merger, Olympic would soon disappear as a competitor to Aegean. Thus the merger causes no harm to competition that would not have occurred anyway. Marfin Investment Group Holdings, which owns Olympic, stated the relevant transfer of shares to Aegean Airlines is expected to be completed within the next two weeks, following which Olympic Air will become a subsidiary of Aegean Airlines. Both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines brands will be used in parallel, whilst each company will retain its distinct flight operations and fleet. The total transaction consideration is EUR72 million in cash, of which EUR20 million has been already paid. Aegean Airlines chairman Theodore Vassilakis welcomed the European Commission's decision and said the company will host a press conference on 23-Oct-2013, following the share purchase, to present its customer offering and development plan as well as its 2014 network plans. [more - original PR - European Commission] [more - original PR - Marfin Investment Group] [more - original PR - Aegean Airlines]
Aegean Airlines: "As of today our obligation and commitment to serve our passengers and our country become even greater. While growing in size we also have to further improve our services to be more effective in the support of all Greek regions and ensure competitive access even to the smallest Greek island. The economies of scale will allow us to offer more competitive fares on our domestic network, especially for the small islands. At the same time, the synergies will allow us to support an improved growth rate for our international network, both from Athens and the periphery, contributing substantially to the development of Tourism and the Economy," Theodore Vassilakis, chairman. Source: Company statement, 09-Oct-2013.