Bolivian-born businessman Germán Efromovich may consider buying LOT Polish Airlines, he told daily Rzeczpospolita in an interview. “I am certainly looking at Alitalia and LOT,” he said, adding that he should make a decision about a potential takeover within the first two months of 2014.
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Mr Efromovich, who owns Colombian airline Avianca, has been planning to enter the European aviation sector for years now. He recently tried to acquire Portugal’s TAP airline, but its privatization process has been suspended.
In order to be able to buy TAP or any other EU-based airline, Mr Efromovich acquired a Polish passport in 2012, as EU law prohibits entities from outside the bloc owning a majority stake in such airlines. For the tycoon, Poland was an obvious choice as his parents emigrated to South America from the country.
Avianca representatives were less enthusiastic about a possible takeover, denying that they were interested in both LOT and Alitalia. An airline spokesperson said Mr Efromovich may have been speaking in a personal capacity, not on behalf of the company.
In the meantime, LOT is involved in a legal dispute that could set it back z³.4.4 million. Consultancy firm EY claims that it has still not received due payment for preparing a restructuring plan for LOT.
The Polish airline is refusing to pay, demanding that the firm pay for a plan prepared by PwC, which was implemented instead of the EY plan.
LOT spokesperson Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras claims that EY – knowing that the airline needed to prepare a rescue plan quickly in order to meet deadlines – charged the air carrier four times more than usual, so LOT had to find another advisory (PwC) to finish preparing the plan.
£ukasz Zalicki, a partner at EY, said that his company had to stop working on LOT’s plan because the airline failed to pay for work EY had already done.
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