PARIS, March 19 (AFP) – Air France and KLM said the launch of a merger operation originally planned for Monday had been delayed until later this month.
The French and Dutch carriers said in a joint statement late Friday they expected that an exchange offer by Air France for all KLM’s common shares “will be launched prior to the end of March 2004.”
No exact new date was given. The currently expected close of the offer period is at the end of April.Air France announced last September it intended to takeover of KLM, creating the world’s biggest airline by sales and Europe’s biggest in terms of traffic.
Air France chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta said last week the stock market operation to acquire KLM shares would begin on March 22.
The effective takeover of KLM by Air France will also result in Air France being privatised, a path it has been taking since being rescued controversially in 1994.
The transaction has been approved by European Union and US competition authorities and will lead to the privatization of Air France.
Subject: France news