Air Berlin now owns 50 per cent of NIKI
Air Berlin announced an increase of its participation in NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH. The contracts were notarized on 17 February 2010.
Air Berlin PLC and its subsidiary Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG have contractually agreed with the Privatstiftung Lauda (private Lauda foundation) that Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG will indirectly acquire 25.9 percent of the shares of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH and thereby increase its current participation in NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH from 24 to 49.9 percent. The purchase price for the shares is EUR 21 million.
In connection with the increase of its participation, Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG will grant the private Lauda foundation a EUR 40.5 million loan. The private foundation has the option to repay the loan in three years, either in cash, or through the transfer of the remaining 50.1 percent of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH’s shares.
Andreas Nikolaus (Niki) Lauda will remain at NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH's disposal for at least another three years. The implementation of the measures described above remains subject to receiving the necessary anti-trust approvals. NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH will be fully consolidated within the Air Berlin Group. NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH will remain a legally independent company with its own management. The "NIKI" brand will continue to exist in the foreseeable future.
Joachim Hunold, CEO of Air Berlin PLC, commented on the increased participation, as follows: "Following years of successful cooperation and partnership with NIKI, the increase of Air Berlin's participation is a logical development. NIKI's network complements Air Berlin's network very well. For Air Berlin, the Vienna hub opens up an additional access to the fast-growing markets of Eastern Europe."
Niki Lauda, the founder and Chairman of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, commented on the participation, as follows: "It is important to me that we can provide NIKI with a broad base for future growth. The intensified cooperation with Air Berlin will make us more profitable, more efficient and more attractive to the passengers."
For the current business year, NIKI has planned an expansion of its network. The planned connections include Sofia, Bucharest, Copenhagen and Nice. Additional flight routes to Olbia/Cagliari, Belgrade and Barcelona complement Air Berlin's existing flight network.