This Monday, March 23, 2009, passed a deadline for submission of bidding applications for buying Czech Airlines, state-owned national carrier. The Czech government has put up for sale 91.5 percent stake in CSA. Four companies have expressed their interest in the lot.
The main bidders are two major airlines Air France-KLM, one of the largest European carriers, and Aeroflot, the biggest airline in Russia. Two other applicants are the Unimex-Travel Service consortium and the Odien AV III group.
The Czech government plans to sell its stake in a two-round public tender during this year. First, in the qualifying round will estimate the applicants considering mainly strategic and security aspects. In the second round the price will be defined and binding offers made. The new proprietor is likely to be announced by the end of September.
It is possible to assume that the main battle over Czech Airlines will be between Air France-KLM and Aeroflot. Air France-KLM’s representative informed that the CSA’s network is "highly complementary" to its own and buying it will allow to reinforce its position in Central and Eastern Europe. Besides, Czech Airlines and Air France-KLM are both members of the SkyTeam Alliance.
Aeroflot is also interested in buying a European airline for further expansion. To meet a criteria stipulated by the Czech government that only a company having at least 51 percent of its capital in EU Aeroflot has put a bid via its 100-percent Czech subsidiary Darofan.
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