Aegean Seeks EU Approval for Renewed Takeover of Olympic AirAoife White
Aegean Airlines SA asked European Union regulators to approve renewed plans to buy Olympic Air and form Greece’s biggest carrier, two years after the EU blocked a previous attempt over antitrust concerns.
The European Commission set an initial deadline of April 9 to rule on the deal, it said in a website filing today.
Aegean, based in Athens, said in October it would pay 72 million euros ($94 million) for Olympic Air to help the two unprofitable airlines benefit from cost savings and an extended network. Aegean will pay cash installments to Marfin Investment Group Holdings SA, which acquired Olympic from the Greek state in 2009.
The Brussels-based commission refused to allow the two carriers merge in 2011, saying they would form a quasi-monopoly that would have increased passenger fares in Greece. The EU yesterday blocked Ryanair Holdings Plc’s bid for Irish rival Aer Lingus Group Plc, more than five years after a previous takeover was also banned on concerns it would end competition on some routes.
Roula Saloutsi, a spokeswoman for Aegean, declined to comment on the filing. Olympic Air’s press office wasn’t immediately available to comment.