LONDON (Reuters) - Details of a request by German airline Air Berlin (AB1.DE) for loan guarantees from two German states are “confidential”, its CEO said on Wednesday, adding that Air Berlin’s assets made it interesting to players in the European market.
The German carrier, 29 percent-owned by Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad, last week asked Berlin and North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) to consider loan guarantees, a move which shows how precarious its situation is, according to Germany’s federal economy minister.
German newspaper Welt reported on Tuesday that Air Berlin is seeking loan guarantees of around 100 million euros ($112.00 million).
“It’s a confidential figure,” Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann told Reuters after the carrier’s annual general meeting in London when asked for details of its request.
“And we’re not looking for any kind of taxpayers’ money. We don’t want to be state-owned. As management, we look at every opportunity over how to restructure the company, and that includes restructuring the debt.”
He has previously said that Air Berlin is seeking a partner, and larger rival Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), which last year agreed a long-term deal to lease 38 planes and crew from Air Berlin, is seen as the obvious investor.
“Air Berlin still has very interesting assets in Germany,” he said. “That strong market position is, I think, interesting for a couple of players in the European market. But we can’t comment who or what.”
Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Louise Heavens