Spanish airline Iberia interested in TAP – Air Portugal privatization

22 February 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 22 Feb – Spanish air carrier Iberia is interested in competing for a stake in TAP – Air Portugal when the Portuguese state carrier is privatized in 2007, due to the synergies that can be set up between the two companies, Portuguese financial daily Diário Económico, reported Tuesday.

Rival financial daily, Jornal de Negócios reported that Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo has shown interest in the TAP/Varig portfolio.

According to Diário Económico, Iberia’s interest in TAP depends on the whether the Portuguese state would hadnowver control of the airline to future private shareholders.

“We will look at the operation so long as it is a real privatization, without limitations,” Iberia’s chief executive, Angel Mullor, told the paper.

TAP’s privatization was announced last week by the Portuguese government, and is due to begin in 2007.

Jornal de Negócios reported Tuesday that Joe Berardo was interested in a potential acquisition of up to 20 percent of Brazilian airline Varig by TAP.

According to the paper, TAP has already been contacted by other potential investors interested in being part of a deal to buy part of Varig.

The Portuguese airline already controls Varig’s maintenance arm, VEM. (macauhub)