September 25, 2017 / 9:13 AM / 2 years ago

IAG CEO confirms bid for Air Berlin, sees it going to Lufthansa

FILE PHOTO - An Air Berlin sign is seen at an Air Berlin storage hall in Berlin, Germany, August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - British Airways parent IAG put in a bid for part of insolvent German airline Air Berlin but expects it will go mainly to Lufthansa, CEO Willie Walsh said at a conference in Barcelona.

Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August, said last week its creditors had picked Lufthansa and easyJet as possible buyers and would negotiate with them for until Oct 12.

“We put in a binding bid for part of Air Berlin, but I don’t think it comes as any surprise that Lufthansa is going to get it,” Walsh was quoted as saying at the World Routes conference.

“From every angle, it looks like it was designed to facilitate Lufthansa but we’ll wait and see. We haven’t heard anything official yet,” he further said.

A spokeswoman for IAG confirmed the comments, which were reported by the conference website.

A large part of Air Berlin’s assets look set to go to Lufthansa, which is bidding around 200 million euros ($238 million) for units including leisure airline Niki and regional carrier LGW, a source has said.

Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr said last week the carrier was interested in up to 78 planes, with the focus on 38 crewed aircraft it already leases from Air Berlin.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Ludwig Burger

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