Monday 26 August 2019

Lufthansa may fly into Norwegian takeover tussle

CEO Carsten Spohr said that Lufthansa has made contact with Norwegian.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is being targeted (PA)
Norwegian Air Shuttle is being targeted (PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle took off on Monday after the boss of Lufthansa signalled the German airline could be interested in taking over the low-cost carrier.

Carsten Spohr said that Lufthansa has made contact with Norwegian amid talk of consolidation in the sector.

“In Europe, everyone is talking to everyone. There’s a new wave of consolidation approaching. That means we are also in contact with Norwegian.

“Takeovers are always a question of strategic value, the price and anti-trust. There are no easy answers,” he told German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Shares in Norwegian were up over 9% in Oslo following the report.

Lufthansa is the latest heavyweight carrier to signal its interest in Norwegian, with British Airways owner IAG also in the running.

Norwegian has rejected two takeover offers from IAG on the basis that they “undervalued Norwegian Air Shuttle and its prospects”.

IAG earlier this year took a 4.61% stake in Norwegian, which was bought with the intention to launch a full bid.

But IAG has so far failed to reach an agreement with the carrier.

Norwegian Air has expanded rapidly over the last 12 months, ordering several aircraft to serve a raft of new routes.

The firm has shaken up the long-haul market by offering flights at knockdown prices.

Some of its most popular deals have included £99 flights from Edinburgh and Dublin to New York.

Norwegian Air carries over 30 million passengers a year, including 5.2 million from the UK, and last year struck an agreement that allows easyJet customers to access its long-haul routes.

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