Germany's Intro Aviation is understood to remain interested in acquiring Dublin-based airline CityJet, despite reports that the exclusivity of its acquisition talks with Air France-KLM has ceased.
Intro Aviation emerged before the summer as the preferred bidder for CityJet, which is owned by Air France-KLM. The German firm then entered exclusive acquisition talks with Air France-KLM, and at one stage during the summer was reckoned to have all but sealed a deal.
But those talks are no longer exclusive, seemingly throwing the scramble to buy CityJet wide open again.
However, the Irish Independent understands that Intro Aviation remains interested in buying CityJet, and that it is still talking to Air France-KLM. It is believed that CityJet staff have been told of the development.
Peter Oncken, the chief executive of Intro Aviation, declined to comment on whether talks with Air France are no longer being undertaken on an exclusive basis. Among the companies that had previously expressed an interest in acquiring loss-making CityJet is Dublin-based ASL Aviation.
ASL is owned by Belgium's Compagnie Maritime Belge and by Air Freighters, which is based in Dublin.
The company's business units include cargo operation Air Contractors, which has a fleet of more than 30 aircraft. It also owns Europe Airpost, which operates charter flights from Ireland.
ASL generated €380m in revenue last year, down from €407.2m in 2011. It made a pre-tax profit of €36m, down from €39.5m. Air France-KLM declined to comment yesterday, as did CityJet.
Cityjet was founded in 1992 by Pat Byrne and was fully acquired by Air France in 2000.