REFILE-UPDATE 2-Air Berlin's administrator takes in bids from Lufthansa, others

From Reuters - September 15, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and several other parties had put in bids for parts of Air Berlin (AB1.DE) by the deadline of Friday set by the administrator of the insolvent airline which employs more than 8,000 people.

Germanys second-biggest airline after Lufthansa filed for bankruptcy last month after major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses.

The countrys coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term in a federal election on Sept. 24, promptly granted the airline a bridging loan of 150 million euros ($179 million) to keep the airline flying during the administration process.

The current status as of the 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) deadline today is that we have received several offers that we will now have to assess in great detail, a spokesman for Air Berlin told Reuters TV, declining to provide further details.

A source close to the negotiations said Fridays deadline for bids was not set in stone and that any offers made over the coming days would still be taken into account.

Most potential investors appear interested primarily in the airlines roughly 140 aircraft and its airport landing and take-off slots rather than in taking over the business.

Lufthansa made an offer for parts of Air Berlin, a spokesman said, declining to provide more detail.

A source familiar with the matter said Lufthansa planned to offer a three-digit millions of euros sum for up to 90 planes, including Austrian holiday airline unit Nikis fleet and 38 crewed planes it already leases from Air Berlin.

European budget airline easyJet (EZJ.L), which media reports had said was interested in acquiring up to 40 of Air Berlins planes, only confirmed on Friday that it had bid for parts of Air Berlins short haul business.

EasyJet has this afternoon submitted a proposal to the overseers of Air Berlins insolvency to acquire parts of its short-haul business, the company said in a statement.


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