Olympic Airlines’ Bids at 30 Million Euros
From the five bids government has received in an international sale tender for a majority stake in national carrier Olympic Airlines, it appears that government coffers will be lucky to get a cash settlement of about 30 million euros.
According to press reports, Aegean Airlines of Greece just wants the airline’s flights and is willing to invest 43 million in the airline, along with a 75 million euro capital increase. It suggests that government sell off all the airline’s properties.
Olympic Investors (headed by a Greek-American investor) wants to give government 30 million for the airline and a 73-million-euro capital increase.
Sure Estates (the Netherlands) suggests a cash payment of 25 million to the government and a capital increase of 185 million.
Intra (owner of Deutsche British Airways) is ready to give 30 million to government and invest 30 million in the airline. It also says it will hire 600 new employees (now 700). And Klesch (UK) suggests a 70 million investment in the airline as a capital increase.
If government does not accept any of the above tenders, which are being looked at in consultation with London-based Lazard, a global investment bank, it will have to deal with the European Union. The Union insists that this is the last chance for government to sell the airline. If unsuccessful, it says, Olympic Airlines must be closed down and dismantled.
Recently, a Union court decision found that the last government subsidy of 194 million euros handed to Olympic must be given back. As well, the “new” Olympic Airlines has already accumulated another 140 million in loses – by the end of 2004 loses totaled 103 million euros and for the first five months of this year there’s another 37 million in loses.