Green Light for Merger of Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa
The European Commission today approved the merger of the Austrian Airlines Group and Lufthansa, as well as the contribution to be made by Österreichische Industrieholding AG (ÖIAG) to the relief of Austrian Airlines’ debt (restructuring aid). Both anti-trust immunity and the approval of 500 million euros in restructuring aid for Austrian Airlines have been granted under conditions that are economically acceptable to Lufthansa. In addition, the shareholders of Austrian Airlines have, until today, offered a total of over 75 per cent of the necessary shares of Austrian Airlines for sale. Therefore, all of the necessary conditions for the merger in accordance with the public takeover offer have been met within the prescribed deadline and Austrian Airlines will be integrated into the Lufthansa Group as of September 2009.
The shareholders of Austrian Airlines AG, who offered their shares for sale by 11 May 2009 and did not exercise the right to withdraw that was granted in the meantime, will receive the offer price of EUR 4.49 per share probably on 3 September 2009. In total, Lufthansa will be paying the free-float shareholders a sum of about 166 million euros for their shares. All shareholders who have not yet accepted the offer, may still offer their shares for sale until eight days after the announcement of Lufthansa in the Wiener Zeitung. The publication will confirm the fulfilment of the conditions precedent of the public takeover offer. In order to complete its takeover of the company upon completion of the public takeover offer, Lufthansa will seek a squeeze-out of the minority shareholders of Austrian Airlines AG.
Last year the airlines of the Lufthansa Group welcomed aboard 70.5 million passengers, flying them to 242 destinations. In 2008, 10.7 million passengers flew with Austrian Airlines; the Austrian Airlines network currently includes 120 destinations. The Lufthansa Group operates a fleet of 549 aircraft; Austrian Airlines currently operates 91 aircraft. The Group currently employs over 105,000 employees worldwide from 15 countries.