Iberia enters bid fray for SAS unit Spanair
Travel group Marsans drops out of the running for Spanish carrier15 February 2008
MADRID - Spain's leading airline Iberia on Thursday announced it planned to launch a full takeover bid for SAS's loss-making unit Spanair as travel group Marsans dropped out of the running.
Iberia said the offer would be made jointly with Madrid-based Grupo Gestair, which specialises in aircraft maintenance and executive travel.
Iberia has itself been the object of takeover interest and its decision to turn buyer surprised analysts. At the end of last year, Iberia denied Gala Capital access to its books as a prior step to the Spanish private equity firm tabling an offer.
Iberia's share price closed yesterday down 0.42 percent at EUR 2.38 percent in a rising market.
Meanwhile, Marsans confirmed it was dropping its interest in the SAS unit as it did not want to get involved in a bidding war for Spain's second-biggest carrier. A company spokesman also cited the current state of the Spanish market where competition is stiff from budget airlines. SAS said yesterday it had received other offers of interest in Spanair, which it acquired in 1993.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / A. SIM 2008]
Subject: Spanish news