September 19, 2018 / 1:20 PM / a month ago

Administrator seeks buyer for German charter airline Small Planet

BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Insolvent German charter carrier Small Planet Airlines hopes to attract a buyer following a debt restructuring, its administrator told Reuters on Wednesday, saying he saw good a chance of a deal.

Small Planet, which employs 400 staff and has nine aircraft, mainly flies tourists to Mediterranean destinations. The company filed for insolvency this week in a bid to stay in the air while a buyer is found.

“Talks are going on with investors, and they are now being intensified under new conditions,” court-appointed administrator Joachim Voigt-Salus told Reuters.

Potential suitors had been deterred by Small Planet’s sizable debts, he added: “Now the question is whether we can cut these liabilities through the insolvency process so that a new investor can take off again with Small Planet.”

It was not immediately clear how Lithuanian parent company Small Planet Group, which runs a total fleet of 29 aircraft, would be affected by the process.

Small Planet hit financial trouble after launching an expansion drive when Air Berlin collapsed last year.

Most of Air Berlin’s operations were bought by German flag carrier Lufthansa, while its Niki subsidiary was bought back by founder Niki Lauda, the Austrian Formula 1 world champion.

“I’m optimistic that the talks will resume and can reach a concrete result in the coming weeks,” Voigt-Salus said. “All are welcome - Niki Lauda is welcome too.” (Writing Douglas Busvine; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter)

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