articles | 22 August 2014

Cyprus Airways could have new owner by end of 2014

Investors interested in Cyprus Airways (CY), including Ryanair must submit non-binding proposals by the end of August 2014, the airline’s chairman said recently.

Proposals will be reviewed on September 30 and a short list will be drafted, Tony Antoniou said.

The procedure could be completed by the end of the year, the chairman said after a meeting between the negotiating team and Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on Friday.

Ryanair was among 22 companies which last month submitted non-binding expressions of interest in the airline, now controlled by the Cypriot government.

The process is a preliminary step towards any eventual binding offer.

O’Leary’s announcement marked a change of approach as he had said last month that Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline, was not particularly interested in acquiring the carrier.

Antoniou said 15 companies have submitted non-binding proposals. Officials from Greece’s Aegean Airlines will be in Cyprus next week for discussions.

“There is a big response despite people saying Cyprus Airways was worthless,” Antoniou said.

“CY will exist in different form. We will have a carrier based in Cyprus that will fly to more destinations,” he added.

The airline has struggled to survive against cheaper competitors and has been loss-making for years despite several attempts at a turnaround.

It resorted to selling assets to stay afloat, including its slots at London’s Heathrow airport.

CY is also under scrutiny by the European Commission. Brussels is investigating terms of a €31.3 million capital increase in early 2013, and a €73 million rescue package by the Cypriot state in 2012 to establish whether it violated state aid rules.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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