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Etihad to combine airBerlin and Alitalia?

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Sources say Etihad plans to raise airBerlin stake

AirBerlin is already nearly 30% owned by Etihad Airways, but there are plans now to delist it and for Etihad to up its stake to 49.9%, the German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche reports. The move could be a prelude to combining airBerlin with Alitalia.

According to the magazine, company sources says that German shareholders, including former and current company executives, would raise their stakes to more than 50% between them, preserving airBerlin’s German status. It needs to stay German, not to lose its traffic rights outside the European Union.

Meanwhile, smaller investors, who currently hold 38.5%, would be bought out, including the 12% stake held by Turkey’s Sabanci family.

As previously reported, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is also in the final phase of due diligence to obtain a stake in Alitalia, which is suffering debts of more than €800 million. Sources say the stake could be up to 40%.

WirtschaftsWoche quotes banking and industry sources, which say that Etihad is investigating ways of creating synergies by combining airBerlin and Alitalia.

Reuters

[photo courtesy Etihad Airways]

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