Bloomberg News

British Airways Owner IAG Offers Remedies to EU on Deal to Purchase BMI

March 12, 2012

British Airways’ parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) offered antitrust concessions to European Union regulators reviewing its bid for Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA)’s BMI unit.

The European Commission extended its deadline to rule on the deal until March 30 after it received an offer from the company to alleviate possible competition concerns, according to a filing on its website today. The Brussels-based regulator didn’t give any details of the proposal.

IAG agreed in December to buy BMI’s main operations, based at London’s Heathrow airport, for 172.5 million pounds ($270 million.) Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said the deal was a “unique” opportunity, even amid tough economic conditions. BMI holds 8.5 percent of takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow, which operates at 99 percent of capacity and won’t be allowed to add a third runway, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

IAG is working with the EU and is “confident” that it will receive regulatory approval for the deal, Laura Goodes, a London-based spokeswoman, said today. She declined to comment on the content of the proposed competition remedies.

U.K. billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. also made an offer for BMI and has said British Airways is “already too dominant” at Heathrow and that competition authorities should be concerned.

Lufthansa, Europe’s second-biggest airline, will sell BMI’s discount unit BMIBaby in a separate deal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.


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