Lufthansa looks at purchase of Condor

 Lufthansa, the flag carrier of Germany, said it would make a non-binding bid to purchase Condor, the German airline of travel operator Thomas Cook.

“We decided yesterday in the meeting of the management board to bid for all of Condor with the option to be able to extend this (bid) to all Thomas Cook airlines,” said Lufthansa’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carsten Spohr during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bonn on Tuesday.

The Lufthansa CEO said that due to anti-trust regulations, it was unlikely that a single buyer could acquire all of Thomas Cook’s airlines.

Thomas Cook, the nearly 200-year-old UK company that pioneered mass holidays in the 1800s and the package holiday in the 1960s, lost 80 percent of its market capitalization in 2018.

Thomas Cook has, however, continued to make money operating its airlines, which consists of a fleet of over 100 airplanes.

In February, in order to raise money following a series of profit warnings, Thomas Cook announced that its airlines were for sale.

The deadline for expressions of interest is May 7. U.S. private equity firm Indigo Partners, which owns stakes in numerous low-cost airlines, is also widely reported to be among the potential buyers of Condor.

At the AGM, Lufthansa announced record annual revenues of 35.8 billion euros (40.08 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018, earnings of 2.8 billion euros and a dividend of 0.80 euros per share. This corresponded to a dividend yield of 4 percent.

The German airline said it was expecting revenue growth in the mid-single digit range and an adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin of 6.5 percent to 8 percent in 2019.