‘We’ve got Condor!’ LOT airlines to take over Germany's Condor, says PM

Speaking at a press conference, the PM applauded the move saying: "It is evidence of the strength of the Polish economy.” Paweł Supernak/PAP

The parent company of Polish national airline PLL LOT, Polish Aviation Group (PGL), is to take over Germany's biggest vacation airline, Condor Air, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, the PM applauded the move saying: "Our country's accession to the advanced countries, to the developed markets (...) is no mistake.

"Polish companies can also take over powerful foreign firms."

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. FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/PAP/EPA

He added that the takeover of Germany's dominant vacation airline was "a very brave but at the same time balanced move by LOT Polish Airlines.

"It is evidence of the strength of the Polish economy.”

Over the last four years LOT has increased its passenger count from four million to almost 11 million a year, which the PM described as "phenomenal growth" made possible by expansion into markets including the Far East.

Over the last four years LOT has increased its passenger count from four million to almost 11 million a year, which the PM described as "phenomenal growth" made possible by expansion into markets including the Far East. Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

"Until now foreign companies have taken over valuable Polish assets - we're reversing this trend. (...) We're reaching for foreign assets, without complexes," he said. "We're in a position to pay as much for them as necessary."

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin said that over the last three years, PLL LOT has generated a PLN 700 million (EUR 164.8 million) profit while earlier over eight years, it had recorded losses of PLN 2 billion (EUR 471 million). "PLL is developing today," he said. "There are very many new connections, new aircraft, new investments."

The PM told the press conference: "Until now foreign companies have taken over valuable Polish assets - we're reversing this trend. (...) We're reaching for foreign assets, without complexes. We're in a position to pay as much for them as necessary."Paweł Supernak/PAP

"We have new Polish assets in Germany," Sasin added.

PGL said in a Friday press release that the takeover should be completed by the end of April.

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

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin said that over the last three years, PLL LOT has generated a PLN 700 million (EUR 164.8 million) profit.Paweł Supernak/PAP

"The transaction should be completed by the end of April 2020, after gaining the necessary consent of anti-monopoly bodies and Condor leaving protection procedures."

"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 told Friday's press conference 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.

LOT president Rafal Milczarski said: "From my point of view, there is no better partner for LOT than Condor.” Jakub Kamiński/PAP

Condor Air has a 22-percent share of the German charter market, which - Minister Sasin pointed out - is the biggest in Europe.

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.

PGL said in a Friday press release that the takeover should be completed by the end of April.RONALD WITTEK/PAP

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.