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Condor Rescue

Hot time for rescuing Condor begins

Condor Rescue

 

The workload for managers and employees at the Condor holiday plane has increased significantly. "In the last few weeks we have made more decisions than we have in the past 24 months," says airline boss Ralf Teckentrup. Since the bankruptcy of its parent company Thomas Cook (TC) on 23 September, the company has been fighting for its own survival, had to stabilize operations first and now create the conditions for new investors to be found for the airline, which is popular in Germany.

 

Even the 58 jets are involved in the effort, says 61-year-old Teckentrup jokingly. "I think our planes have a soul. They know that they can't have any defects now and they are obeying." Not a single flight has been cancelled since the bad news from London, not to mention the very good punctuality figures. The loss of the largest customer - the TC brands occupied about 15 percent of the condors' seats - had been almost completely compensated and, in addition, negotiations had been held with the remaining tour operators for the coming summer.

 

However, the pressure on Teckentrup and his troops is increasing daily: on 1 December, the provisional protective shield will become the main trial. The company is thus protected from access by the British insolvency administration and can search for a future solution under its own management. Decisions must be made in agreement with the creditors and the administrator Lucas Flöther. The insolvency expert, who was appointed during the Air Berlin bankruptcy, praises the protective umbrella: "The procedure is intended for when a company has got into a crisis through no fault of its own. That's why it matches perfectly here".

 

Numerous interested parties have already expressed their interest and are currently checking the economic condition of the takeover object in the data room. In the coming weeks, non-binding offers are to be received first, which will then "hopefully in January or a few days later" lead to clarity about the future ownership situation. The state bridging loan of 380 million euros must in any case be repaid to the state bank KfW by 31 March 2020, together with interest.

Condor CEO Teckentrup is campaigning to retain the airline with its 4,900 employees as a whole, referring to the figures presented on Tuesday for the operating profit of 57 million euros in the 2018/2019 financial year (30 September). The current procedure offers further opportunities to improve the cost situation by, for example, terminating expensive rental agreements and concluding new collective agreements with the trade unions. The unit costs could thus be reduced by a further 3 to 4 percent, promises Condor's new Chief Financial Officer Christoph Debus, who had managed the entire Thomas Cook airlines in recent years.

 

The last word, however, lies with the creditors, who will first and foremost ensure that the proceeds from the sale are as high as possible and will have less to worry about preserving jobs or the unity of the traditional company. In addition, potential investors may only be interested in parts of the company, such as Easyjet, which is active only in Europe on short-haul routes, or the Lufthansa Group on long-haul routes. Teckentrup admits: "If you look at the major strategic investors in Europe, filleting the Condor is a scenario that cannot be ignored".

 

(dpa)

Nov 27, 2019

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