Franco-Dutch airline group Air France-KLM has expressed interest in acquiring a stake in Portuguese Star Alliance member TAP Air Portugal. This puts you in competition with Lufthansa, because the German group of companies is also considered a potential buyer of the ailing Lisbon-based airline.
Actually, TAP Air Portugal was already privatized because the Portuguese government had to sell the carrier in the aftermath of the financial crisis. However, the company was gradually nationalized again and is majority-owned by the state of Portugal. The state leadership will sell the airline again, which was again supplied with state money during the corona pandemic.
So far, Lufthansa, which did not win the bid for Ita Airways, has been considered an interested party for a possible takeover. The Kranich Group should have a not inconsiderable interest in TAP Air Portugal remaining in the Star Alliance. Should Air France-KLM take over, then a move to Skyteam is highly likely. However, there is still no official bidding process. The fact that two European airline groups are interested in buying a stake of an amount that has not yet been defined in more detail should at least drive up the price in advance.
In September 2022, the Portuguese government announced that TAP Air Portugal would be privatized as soon as possible. However, an exact timetable has not yet been given. It is currently assumed that both interested parties want to acquire at least the majority in order to have control of the loss-making aviation group based in Lisbon.
1.5 billion euros loss in the previous year
Air France-KLM boss Ben Smith believes a possible acquisition of TAP Air Portugal is strategically interesting, as consolidation in Europe would be the key to success. The Iberian peninsula, which is strongly influenced by the competitor IAG, has been considered for some time. Should the opportunity arise, a partnership would be entered into with TAP, which could also result in a participation or takeover.
TAP Air Portugal made a loss of 1.5 billion euros last year. In addition, government aid of around 2.5 million euros was received in several tranches during the corona pandemic. The first privatization was not crowned with success, because the investors David Neeleman and Humberto Pedrosa slowly sold the company back to the state. In June 2020, the company was quickly fully renationalized. Lufthansa was already interested in buying TAP Air Portugal before the Corona pandemic, but the talks have come to a halt due to the pandemic. In the meantime, other basic requirements prevail and with Air France-KLM there is a second interested party.
Air France-KLM contribution to TAP acquisition was first interested in Aviation.Direct.
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