LOT Polish Airlines Emerges From The Bidding Pool As Successful Buyer Of Condor

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After several months in limbo following the Thomas Cook Bankruptcy and a bidding pool of two more interested parties, LOT Polish Airlines proved to be successful in their bid to acquire Germany’s Condor.

Condor has previously received a 380 Mio EURO bridge loan from the German government to stay operational until a new owner had been found which needs to be repaid in April of this year.

The news that Condor has been purchased by another airline is right off the bat a good set of news as the alternative would have been one two private equity firms that were interested until the end.

Condor belonged to Thomas Cook, the tour operator that got caught up in a huge bankruptcy in Fall of 2019. The airline itself has been profitable though in recent years and was rumored to quickly find a buyer.

In fact Lufthansa was interested but it quickly became clear that this deal would not go through due to regulatory hurdles design to avoid a monopoly.

LOT is 100% owned by the Polish government and according to the Handelsblatt has announced it would repay the bridge loan as soon as the transaction is finalized.

LOT uses Lufthansa’s MIles&More program and so does Condor (apart from Alaska Airlines). At this point it’s unclear how this relationship will progress as Lufthansa positioned Eurowings in Frankfurt to also have a hand in the lucrative German tourism market.

According to Handelsblatt the two other interested parties were Greybull, the investor which botched the Monarch takeover in the UK (Airline went bankrupt short after) and Apollo which had several demands that couldn’t be guaranteed by the parties involved.

Conclusion

It’s a good outcome that Condor found an experienced buyer and that operations seem to continue as usual. Disappearing from the market would not be good for German holidaymakers, it was already bad enough when Air Berlin went bankrupt and suddenly left a big vacuum that was not really filled at all.

I noticed it when trying to fly to Madeira in the last few years. Condor’s schedule to Funchal is rather spotty and the only other alternative is scheduled flights (expensive) via Lisbon, Madrid or sometimes Frankfurt. Hopefully this transaction gets inked down fast so they can get on with daily business.

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