ECONOMY

Aegean Airlines, Chrysler Aviation bid for Olympic

Two bidders have taken last-minute seats at the negotiation table for the sale of state-owned Olympic Airlines (OA), despite expectations the deal was likely to wind up this week with the only interested buyer being Marfin Investment Group (MIG). Aegean, the country’s largest private airline, said yesterday that it had offered 90 million euros for Olympic’s flight unit, 20 million euros for the maintenance division and 60 million euros for Pantheon Airways, the new carrier that is to replace Olympic. The second interested buyer is US-based Chrysler Aviation, according to state television NET, which has put forward a bid of a total 210 million euros for the flight business, maintenance unit, as well as Pantheon. The Greek goverment, which invited potential investors for one-on-one talks in February after the last tender process collapsed, welcomed news of the new interest, as talks with MIG continue. Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who is overseeing the privatization, said «all offers will be examined based on very specific principals.» Press reports cited MIG sources earlier this week as saying they expect to wind up talks with the government by tomorrow. MIG has bid 45.7 million euros for Olympic’s flight operations and 16.7 million euros for the technical base, an offer doubled by Aegean. which also promised to take on the airline quickly, in just 60 days. «With this method, hundreds of millions of euros will be saved in operating losses that will weigh on the Greek government in the event OA is handed over to another company at a later date,» Aegean said. Olympic is believed to be costing the Greek government 1 million euros per day. Shares in Aegean, which are traded on the Athens bourse, jumped 2.61 percent to 2.75 euros, versus a 0.24 percent retreat on the broader market. Brokers describe the deal as being a mixed benefit for Aegean, saying that it will help the company to expand abroad and create synergies in capital expenditure and maintenance costs but also noted that the extra effort required to modernize and restructure Olympic as part of the downside of the deal. [email protected]