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Lufthansa-Austrian Deal

Jonathan Todd: The ball is still in the court of Lufthansa

Jul 20, 2009

BRUSSELS - The European Commission is still looking for clarification from the German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG regarding its planned takeover of the troubled Austrian Airlines AG, before deciding on whether to give the deal merger clearance.

Commission officials held technical discussions with Lufthansa over the weekend, said the Commission's antitrust spokesman, Jonathan Todd, adding that it is "still waiting for clarifications from Lufthansa."

The head of the European Union's competition authority, Neelie Kroes, has offered to meet with Lufthansa's chief executive to discuss the matter, but hasn't heard back from the company yet, Todd added.

Lufthansa said it is still in talks with the Commission about the planned takeover. The talks with Brussels were continued over the weekend, Lufthansa spokesman Andreas Bartels told Dow Jones Newswires. He added the airline is actively working on a solution with the Commission.

Lufthansa has set July 31 as the final deadline for getting antitrust clearance from Brussels, without which the deal can't be concluded.

Todd said that the Lufthansa deal was not on the Commission's agenda to be discussed in the commissioners' weekly meeting Wednesday, which is the last time the executive meets to take decisions before the summer holidays.

"There are no current plans for a decision this week," Todd said. However he pointed out that a decision on the takeover could be also taken using a written procedure during the Commission holidays.

Until such time as we get clarifications from Lufthansa "it is impossible to establish whether or not our competition concerns have been met, and until then we cannot take a decision, the ball is still in the court of Lufthansa," Todd said.

Jonathan Todd: The ball is still in the court of Lufthansa
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