LOT to buy Thomas Cook airline Condor

LOT to buy Thomas Cook airline Condor.

Polish airline LOT said today it would take over German carrier Condor, a former subsidiary of bankrupt travel operator Thomas Cook that has been kept aloft with government loans.

“Maybe there was uncertainty about Condor’s future. I would like to say very firmly today, there is no more uncertainty,” LOT chief executive Rafal Milczarski told reporters in Frankfurt.

Mr Milczarski would not be drawn on how much LOT had offered for Condor.

But “we are going to pay a fair price, a price that will enable us to pay off the KfW loan in its entirety,” he said.

He added the transaction was slated to go through by April assuming EU competition authorities wave the deal through.

German public investment bank KfW last year granted Condor a €380m bridging loan after Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy, which is due to be paid back later this year.

The LOT-Condor merger brings together two firms of almost the same size, with the Polish firm booking revenues of €1.9 billion in 2019, while Condor took in €1.7 billion in its 2018-19 financial year.

Each served around 10 million passengers over the same periods.

In future, both the LOT and Condor brand names will be preserved, Milczarski said, with plans to expand in central and eastern Europe.

Condor boss Ralf Teckentrup added that the merger would not bring any new job layoffs at the German airline under deals struck with unions.

“As two strong airlines we’ll be much stronger together, developing a profitable business is the most important way to secure jobs for workers,” he said.

Cabin crew union UFO reacted positively to the deal, calling it “very good news that a buyer has now been found” and hailing the deal to avoid job cuts.

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