Lufthansa CEO to sign Air Berlin deal today

Lufthansa CEO to sign Air Berlin deal today

Lufthansa will sign a deal on Thursday to buy parts of its insolvent smaller German rival Air Berlin, Lufthansa's chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

The head of German carrier Lufthansa on Thursday announced that his company was set to take a majority stake in failed airline Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency earlier and was temporarily being kept afloat by a bridging loan from the German government.

"We will see a milestone in the history of Lufthansa and Berlin today", he said.

According to Reuters, Lufthansa will acquire Air Berlin's subsidiaries Niki and LG Walter, as well access to take-off and landing slots at Air Berlin's hubs at Berlin's Tegel airport and at Duesseldorf airport.

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Analysts at Bernstein Research raised their rating on Lufthansa's shares to "outperform" from "market-perform", saying they expected a deal with Air Berlin to add around €70 to €90m to annual operating profits at Lufthansa's budget unit Eurowings in the medium term.

Meanwhile, unions have complained that many of Air Berlin's staff faced an uncertain future despite promises when talks with Lufthansa and Easyjet began that most would find jobs with the bidders. The easyJet aspect of the deal appears to be considerably less certain than that with Lufthansa however, with negotiations reportedly still ongoing. He said he was "stunned" by suggestions the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane.

On September 25, Air Berlin said it was negotiating with Lufthansa and British low cost carrier easyJet for the sale of its assets, with a deadline of October 12 set for the conclusion of negotiations.

Air Berlin undertook a restructuring exercise previous year to stem losses, after accumulating debts for nearly a decade.

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