Etihad gets the final OK for Air Serbia stake
Etihad Airways confirmed on Tuesday that requisite government and regulatory approvals, consent and permissions sanctioning the strategic partnership between Air Serbia and Etihad Airways, have now been obtained. On August 1, 2013, the Serbian government signed a strategic, long term agreement, with Etihad and unveiled a 200 million dollar plan to revitalise Jat Airways, now known as Air Serbia. Etihad CEO, James Hogan, said, “I am pleased to confirm Etihad Airways is now the shareholder of 49% of Air Serbia. This investment represents an important partnership with the Government of Serbia, as we work together to build Air Serbia into the leading airline in the region”.
According to a leaked draft of the takeover agreement, “Etihad proposes to provide funding to Jat of up to $100.000.000 (one hundred million US dollars) through a combination of equity, debt and other financial facilities and/or funding arrangements as may be mutually agreed”. In addition, the draft agrrement states that Etihad will further invest into Air Serbia in instalments. These will amount to fourteen million million dollars by December 31, 2014, another fourteen million by the end of 2015 and a further fourteen million by the end of 2016. Additional grants will also be provided, amounting to 22 million dollars by the end of this year and another eighteen million by the end of 2015.
Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said on Tuesday, "We are pleased to have closed the transaction with Air Serbia’s strategic partner, Etihad Airways. Air Serbia is the only major airline in the region to have successfully partnered with a leading global airline, Etihad Airways. We are proud the national airline of Serbia now stands shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world”. The CEO of Air Serbia, Dane Kondić, added, “Air Serbia has a strong business plan, and a clear government mandate, to be a safe, best in class and profitable airline. We have already achieved a remarkable transformation of the national airline of Serbia and are looking forward to the journey with our new shareholder and strategic partner, Etihad Airways".