Montenegro’s Deputy Finance Minister Ivan Petrovic confirmed Etihad Airways, El Al Israel Airlines and Arkia Israel Airlines purchased tender documentation for the 30% takeover of Montenegro Airlines (Bloomberg/Gulf Today, 15-Nov-2010). The tender will close on 15-Dec-2010. The state owned a 99.88% stake in the carrier and is offering the minority stake along with an option to increase the holding in two years, as well as broad management rights. Montenegro Airlines operates eight aircraft with a total of 869 seats and operates to 16 destinations. In 2009, it reported revenues of EUR60 million and a negative EBITDAR of EUR1.2 million. Mr Petrovic stated Montenegro did not set a minimum price for the stake although the government’s Privatisation Council has valued the entire company at EUR25.68 million.
Etihad, El Al and Arkia Israel interested in Montenegro Airlines stake sale
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Their initial Dec-2016 codeshare announcement was, in practical terms, small but showed the possibility, as they stated, to expand cooperation. However, it would be a leap to go from their handful of codeshares to a 17-Jan-2017 article from Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero that Etihad could invest in Lufthansa on the way to a possible merger between the two. A subsequent denial in a Reuters story that "A financial stake is out of the question at the moment", does little to dispel the rumour. Were it not for the last three words of that statement the rumour would lack credibility.
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Full details of the plan, which has received the support of Italy's government, have not yet been made public. Alitalia's network strategy includes further long haul growth and a reworking of its short haul operation, with an emphasis on feeding long haul via Rome and Milan. Other elements of the plan include cost-cutting, reduced headcount and possible changes to joint venture agreements. Details are to be presented to Alitalia’s workforce in Jan-2017.
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