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Austrian Airlines sale lost in politics

Centre-left rejects Austrian Airline sale

Jul 21, 2008

VIENNA - Austria's co-governing centre-left remains opposed to a quick sale of the government's 43 percent stake in Austrian Airlines, the Social Democrat junior transport minister said on Monday.

The Austrian government's holding company OeIAG has hired Boston Consulting Group and Merrill Lynch to evaluate strategic options for Austrian Airlines, as the carrier's losses are widening due to rising kerosene prices.

Asked by national radio ORF whether there would be a mandate for OeIAG to sell the stake or part of it before Austria's snap elections set for Sept. 28, junior Minister Christa Kranzl said: "I personally cannot imagine that."

"I warn against a rushed sale," Kranzl added. "There are negative examples in the past ... where there were overly hasty privatisations."

Conservative leader, Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer said last month seeking an outside strategic partner for Austrian Airlines was the most likely option for the carrier.

Analysts see Germany's Lufthansa as the best strategic fit for AUA. Air France-KLM, Aeroflot, Air China, and Royal Jordanian RJAL.AM were all reported to be interested in AUA.

Centre-left rejects Austrian Airline sale

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