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EU Approval of UPS TNT Bid Draws ASL’s Cautious Optimism

United Parcel Service Inc.’s chances of receiving European Commission approval to take over TNT Express NV have drawn cautious optimism from the chief executive officer of ASL Aviation Group Ltd., the company that agreed to buy TNT’s airline operations in November.

ASL, based in Swords, Ireland, agreed to buy TNT’s airline unit on the condition that UPS complete its proposed 5.16 billion-euro ($6.81 billion) purchase of TNT.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” ASL CEO Hugh Flynn said in an e-mailed response when asked whether he thinks the EU will approve the UPS-TNT deal. He declined to comment on potential talks to provide services to La Poste SA’s DPD parcel-distribution unit, which is UPS’s preferred buyer for European assets, a person familiar with the matter said in November.

The EU is currently reviewing UPS’s concessions, such as selling assets and offering air-network access to rivals, as it seeks antitrust approval for the purchase of TNT, the Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based package-delivery company. ASL, which provides air freight services to parcel companies, including FedEx Corp. and Deutsche Post AG’s DHL, has 90 aircraft and 1,200 employees, according to its website.

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