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Sale of Austrian Airlines postponed

Sale of Austrian Airlines postponed

A decision on the sale of Austrian Airlines is being postponed but two contenders are still in the running to buy a stake in the ailing carrier, the country's investment and privatization agency said Monday.
In a statement after a closed door meeting of its board of directors, state holding company OeIAG said it was asking the federal government to extend its privatization mandate because the offers it had received include demands it cannot address on its own. According to the statement, these include calls for a subsidy to strengthen the airline's "financial base."
Austria's government decided in August to privatize its roughly 42 percent share in the ailing flagship carrier, which is steeped in 900 million euros ($1.1 billion) debt and recently announced it expects a net loss of up to 125 million euros ($156 million) for the 2008 fiscal year.
OeIAG chief Peter Michaelis, in comments broadcast on Austrian television, indicated that two bids were on the table.
"There are two offers still in the running," Michaelis said in an interview with ORF. He declined to specify names when asked if these were Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany's biggest airline, and Russia's S7 Airlines. Last week, an S7 official said a bid had been submitted.and media have reported Lufthansa is also interested.
Ahead of OeIAG's announcement, the Austria Press Agency cited a Finance Ministry spokesman as saying that the privatization mandate given to OeIAG will be extended until Dec. 31. The spokesman did not immediately return calls for confirmation.


Updated : 2021-05-13 12:23 GMT+08:00