12 Sep 2017 - 0:00
German investor bids €500m for Air Berlin
Berlin: German investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl has unveiled a ¤500m ($600m) offer for bankrupt Air Berlin, hoping to buy the country’s second largest airline whole rather than see it split up.
Nuremberg-based Woehrl first rose to prominence when he bought airline Deutsche BA from British Airways for a symbolic ¤1 in 2003, later selling it to Air Berlin.
On Sunday his company Intro offered ¤50m immediately for the stricken airline, with up to ¤450m of further payments “depending on performance”, he said.
Intro wants “Air Berlin as a whole” rather than buying up chunks, Woehrl emphasised, urging other potential buyers nosing around the airline like Lufthansa, Condor, TUI, Germania and Austrian former Formula One driver Niki Lauda to join his offer.
The German government has argued that competition rules prevent any single airline taking over Air Berlin, the country’s second largest carrier after Lufthansa.
After losing the lifeline of regular cash infusions from Gulf carrier Etihad in June, Air Berlin filed for insolvency on August 15. The firm has given potential buyers until September 15 to make offers.
In the meantime, the airline has been kept aloft by a hastily-agreed ¤150m loan from the German government.