The sale of Olympic Airlines to Greece’s Marfin Investment Group has been agreed to by the Greek Government and is expected to be put forward to the Greek Parliament for approval this week.
The Greece-based investment holdings company Marfin was chosen to buy Olympic after three weeks of negotiations, in preference to bids from the carrier’s main domestic rival, Aegean Airlines, and U.S.-based Chrysler Aviation.
Development Minister Costis Hadzidakis said MIG would acquire full control of the carrier by the end of September.
“There will be no visible effect on passengers regarding ticket bookings or other such matters during the transition period,” he said, adding that Olympic would continue serving Greece’s dozens of far-flung islands, and other unprofitable destinations.
“We will have a new Olympic, for which Greek taxpayers will not have to pay 350 million euros per year,” said Hatzidakis. “Instead, we will receive 150 million euros per year in taxes.”
MIG has offered 45.7 million euros for Olympic’s flight operations and 16.7 million euros for the company’s technical maintenance assets. The total sum paid will include the price of Olympic’s share capital.
“There will be no visible effect on passengers regarding ticket bookings or other such matters during the transition period,” Hatzidakis said, adding that Olympic would continue serving Greece’s dozens of far-flung islands, and other unprofitable destinations.
A decision on the sale of Olympic’s ground handling services has been postponed, pending negotiations between MIG and Swissport, which has offered 44.8 million euros for that section of the company. The government says MIG has committed to pay the same sum for the ground handling services if the talks fail. Olympic’s 8,100 employees have been offered early retirement or transfers to other public sector jobs with their rights to a pension and social insurance preseverved in legislation.
The European Commission approved the sale as it would offer the best chance to recover some 850 million euros in illegal state subsidies given to the airline and its predecessor over the past years.