Lufthansa May Buy Iberia….but not Olympic

Lufthansa in talks to buy Iberia
Europe’s airlines are starting to consolidate. Lufthansa has started discussions on a possible move to buy ‘all or part’ of Spanish airline Iberia, French daily La Tribune reports. But Iberia has denied the report according to Dow Jones. We think La Tribune got it right. Yesterday, ATW reported Lufthansa Group’s preliminary full-year financial results and said it expects full-year earnings attributable to shareholders to soar nearly 77% to $1.05b. That helps a lot.
Without citing sources, La Tribune says Lufthansa had opened discussions — but not negotiations — on a possible move to buy a “key stake” in Iberia, which is currently 10% owned by British Airways. Such a move could create an airline that would carry 100m passengers yearly, compared to 70m carried by Air France-KLM.

This news must thrill Alitalia because it almost certainly means that Air France/KLM will snatch them from oblivion. Iberia’s finance director already raised the possibility of a tie-up with Lufthansa or Air France-KLM in a newspaper interview last November. We don’t think this wave of consolidation makes Olympic a runner though.

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