Korean Air confirms bid to acquire Czech Airlines

Korean Air confirms bid to acquire Czech Airlines

SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
Korean Air confirms bid to acquire Czech Airlines

Korean Airlines has placed an offer to buy 44 percent of Czech Airlines.

Korean Air confirmed today it had made an official bid of “several million dollars” for a 44 percent stake in troubled Czech Airlines (CSA), in what would be its first investment in another carrier.

The South Korean flag carrier said it would not be seeking managerial control of the state-run Czech airline. “We submitted a bid for the stake last week. If successful, this will be our first investment in another airliner,” a Korean Air spokesman told AFP.

The bid reflects Korean Air’s efforts to strengthen its network in Europe, he said. Korean Air operates passenger flights to 11 cities in Europe.

Qatar Airways retreats from the bidding

The Czech government has set a March deadline for bids for the airline, which Ernst & Young auditors estimate to be worth $7.5 million (148 million koruna).

Qatar Airways, which had previously expressed interest in the CSA stake, would not take part in the bidding, the Czech broadsheet daily DNES said March 4 on its website. Czech Airlines, which boasts a fleet of 26 planes, posted a loss of 241 million koruna in 2011.

The offer is the second attempt to privatize the unprofitable carrier after the first fell through in 2009.