After Lufthansa and the shareholders of SN Airholding agreed on the terms of the complete takeover, Deutsche Lufthansa AG"™s Executive Board decided yesterday to exercise the call option for the outstanding 55 percent of the shares. The call option comes into effect by December 31, 2016. The transaction will close by the beginning of January 2017.
The price mechanism for the takeover of the remaining 55 percent of the shares has already been part of the agreement for the call option in 2008. The price for the acquisition of the remaining 55 percent of the shares is 2.6 million EUR, which will be paid to a consortium of 30 shareholders.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG: “Following the acquisition of the 45 percent share of SN Airholding eight years ago, we now want to take a next step in our already very solid and successful cooperation. As a longstanding shareholder and partner of Brussels Airlines, we are already closely linked to each other. Accordingly, we value Belgium, and especially Brussels, as highly attractive markets that perfectly complement our offer in the heart of Europe. In addition, Brussels Airlines already has a competitive cost structure and brings a well-established long-haul network, especially to and from Africa, to the Lufthansa Group portfolio. We also very much appreciate the high qualification, motivation and performance of the 3,500 Brussels Airlines employees.”
After the acquisition, Brussels Airlines will continue to operate its 23 long-haul destinations, as well as 79 destinations within Europe, under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group. The brand "˜Brussels Airline"™ will be complemented by the claim "Member of the Eurowings Group". The common goal of Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines is to further strengthen the market position in the Belgian Airline market.
The current fleet harmonization towards an Airbus A320 family fleet for the European network will be continued. With its fleet of 42 short- and medium-haul aircraft and nine A330 long-haul aircraft, Brussels Airlines has significantly increased the number of its passengers. From 2013 to 2015 only, this number has increased by 30 percent to a total of 7.5 million passengers. In the medium term, investments are planned to further improve the fleet-efficiency and increase the capacity on the short- and long-haul network.
In the past three years, Brussels Airlines has reduced its non-fuel unit costs by almost ten percent and established sustainably efficient structures. For the financial year 2015, the leading Belgian airline generated an operating profit of 43.4 million EUR. With the full integration of Brussels Airlines, synergies are to generate up to a mid-double digit million EUR contribution per year. In the short-term, integration costs may burden earnings at first.
Chairman of the Board, Viscount Etienne Davignon: "Our sound and trustful collaboration with Lufthansa has proven its potential to jointly create perspectives. More than ever, consolidation in the aviation business is key. Joining the Lufthansa Group allows us to further increase synergies, while keeping our specific competencies. Together we are able to further strengthen our competitiveness within a tough market environment and develop our long-haul and short-haul operations. We will supplement the Lufthansa Group"™s network with our important long-haul and transfer traffic to Africa and want to enhance our strong position."
In the future, Brussels Airlines will assume an important role in the further development of the Eurowings Group into a pan-European platform. In order to personally accompany the integration process, Carsten Spohr will join the Brussels Airlines Board as Co-Chairman, next to Viscount Etienne Davignon. Three further Belgian members will remain on the Board. The Brussels Airlines Management Board remains unchanged under the leadership of CEO Bernard Gustin. In addition, an Advisory Council will be established and will support the integration process.
Carsten Spohr added: “As the leading aviation group, we have already demonstrated, on several occasions, that during the expansion process of our airline group we fully respect the interests of the respective domestic markets. We want to further sustainably strengthen the important aviation location of Brussels and continue to improve the connectivity of the European Capital. Based on its successful development, Brussels Airlines is able to play a leading role in bringing our pan-European point-to-point offer, under the brand of the Eurowings Group, to new successful heights. Together, we will be successful for our customers, shareholders and employees "“ now also in Belgium".