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ROUNDUP 2: Poland burst condor takeover – is the state getting involved? | message


(extended version)

FRANKFURT / WARSCHAU (dpa-AFX) – The holiday plane Condor with almost 5000 employees has to tremble again for its future. The deal with the Polish airline Lot, which Condor was supposed to take over these days, broke in the Corona crisis. The Lot parent company PGL canceled the planned purchase on Easter Monday without reason, as Condor confirmed in Frankfurt. When looking for a new owner, the company sees the German state as a possible savior.

Among other things, a model in which a trustee could lead the company to a later sale comes into question, said a Condor spokeswoman for the German Press Agency on Monday. There are different options. Direct state entry would also be conceivable, but is not considered a preferred solution in Berlin. The Federal Ministry of Economics stayed covered on Monday. A spokesman, referring to the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings for Condor, said they did not want to comment on the process.

Time is pressing because on Wednesday (April 15) the KfW loan with interest plus 380 million euros is due, with which Condor was kept in the air over the winter. The purchase price of the Poles planned for repayment is now not available. Condor did not request an extension of the EU-approved loan, but instead opted for new loans for the Corona crisis. Additional cash may flow from an escrow account where funds for Condor tickets have landed after April 1st.

The prerequisite for this would be the end of the so-called protective shield procedure, in which Condor saved itself six months after the bankruptcy of its former parent company Thomas Cook. The protective shield plan of the insolvency expert Lucas Flther has been in force since last Thursday, but is now temporarily not working. Nevertheless, Condor is sticking to the plan to quickly leave the protective shield. Talks between PGL and Condor about possible contractual penalties due to the resignation are still pending.

In this mildest form of restructuring in German insolvency law, the management under Ralf Teckentrup had continued the business and concluded the purchase contract with PGL in January after a bidding process. The state holding company prevailed over two financial investors with a higher bid. Politicians of the national conservative PiS government had celebrated the takeover as a sign of Poland’s growing economic importance.

Under the protective shield, Condor had terminated tenancy agreements, dismissed some employees and concluded remediation agreements with the unions. With the Corona crisis, the holiday plane also lost its business, most recently flying homecoming flights on behalf of the federal government and freight.

The Lot has also been hit hard by the virus. “In the case of the Lot, we certainly cannot do without public help,” Poland’s Treasury Minister Jacek Sasin had recently told TVN24.

If Condor had already been owned by a state airline when it was taken over by the Polish Lot, it could now become the German state holiday airline as a result of the Corona crisis. There is even speculation in the industry that in such a case Condor could end up at Lufthansa again, to which it had belonged for at least some decades since it started in 1956. After Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy in the fall, a takeover by Lufthansa would probably have failed due to EU antitrust law. However, the Corona crisis has already made a number of things possible that would previously have been considered a violation of the rules of the free market economy.

The World Aviation Association IATA has long called on governments to provide financial support to airlines around the world. She fears that the companies in the passenger business could lose almost half of their revenue this year. Even the US does not rule out the state’s entry into domestic airlines. If the government supports airlines with loans or direct aid, they can also participate in them, the US president had Donald Trump explains./ceb/stw/dhe/DP/he


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