German anti-trust watchdog okays Poland's takeover of Condor airline

The German federal anti-monopoly office, the Bundeskartellamt, on Thursday agreed to the takeover of the German airline Condor by the Polish Aviation Group (PGL), the parent company of Polish national airline PLL LOT.

Bundeskartellamt said in justification of its decision that Condor and PGL do not compete with each other but, on the contrary, they run complementary services.

PGL, a state-owned company, said in a press release in late January that the takeover should be completed by the end of April.

"The Condor takeover offer presented by PGL was recognised as the most beneficial to the company, its workers, partners, suppliers and customers," the release stated.

"The PGL investment will enable Condor to pay off its obligations regarding German development bank KfW in full and on time," the press release added.

PGL President Rafal Milczarski said in late January that together with Condor Air, PGL will develop dynamically and work together with scheduled airlines as well as charter lines. "From my point of view, there is no better partner for LOT than Condor," he said.

Condor Air has a 22-percent share of the German charter market.

According to unofficial information from sources "among those conducting negotiations," acquired by German press agency dpa, LOT beat several other investors bidding for Condor, including US fund Apollo and the UK's Greybull.

The Frankfurt-registered Condor, which belonged to Thomas Cook since 2009, survived the travel agency's bankruptcy thanks to financial support from the German state to the tune of EUR 380 million. An important partner to German travel agencies, Condor employs around 5,000 people and operates about 60 aircraft.

PGL is 100-percent owned by the Polish State Treasury and is supervised by the prime minister. It is made up of LOT, LOT AMS, and LS Airport Services.