LOT and 4K eye Croatia Airlines stake


LOT Polish Airlines and turnaround fund 4K Invest, which owns Adria Airways, have reportedly expressed interest in taking a stake in Croatia Airlines. According to local media, the two are pondering at the prospect of becoming the Croatian carrier's strategic partner, as the government seeks to privatise the airline for a second time. Last week, the President of the Croatia Airlines Supervisory Board, Zlatko Mateša, hinted at Polish interest in the carrier, noting that a European partner would be ideal as it could take over a majority stake in line with European Union regulations. LOT currently maintains double daily flights between its hub in Warsaw and Zagreb, as well as seasonal services to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula and Zadar.

The Polish carrier recently expanded its operations in the region, commencing flights from Budapest to New York and Chicago, which will be followed up by services to London City next year. The airline's CEO, Rafał Milczarski, noted that the airline will be focusing on the Balkan region, which could see similar expansion in the future. Notably, emphasis will be put on cities in the area which serve as hubs for Star Alliance member airlines with whom LOT can cooperate. Both Zagreb and Ljubljana are home to national carriers which are part of the alliance, while Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways codeshare on LOT's flights from their respective hubs to Warsaw.

On the other hand, 4K Invest was linked to the potential acquisition of Croatia Airlines back in April. 4K acquired Adria via its subsidiary AA International Aviation Holding in March 2016 through a recapitalise-and-sell procedure for 100.000 euros and an additional one million euro capital injection. It later purchased the remaining shares. As part of the deal, the Slovenian government provided 3.1 million euros in capital. 4K Invest is a leading European restructuring fund registered in Luxembourg and managed out of Munich. All of it ́s subsidiaries, including AA International Holding as Adria's parent company, are completely owned by European investors, mostly German nationals.

Croatia Airlines will seek a privatisation consultant in the coming weeks. The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, said, "Croatia Airlines needs to find a strategic partner and we will commence this process. We have held talks with the company's management several times. As far as I am aware, a tender for the selection of a privatisation consultant will begin soon. They will give us answers to questions such as how, when and in what way the procedure should take place". He added, "This year is crucial in our search of a strategic partner".

Comments

  1. I would love for 4K to take over. They have done a relatively good job with Adria and some sort of consolidation in this area is necessary.

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    1. please present the numbers for JP then we will talk about good job and not

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    2. They had a profit in 2016 and will probably post one in 2017 as well.

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    3. 4K's track record is far from great. Especially after the Darwin debacle.

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    4. lol. adria showed profit because they sold brand for 8mil€ to 4k.

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    5. Neither LOT nor 4K, thank you!

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    6. It is not that great job. It is not good at all. Here is my article about it:

      https://tangosix.rs/2018/19/06/kolumna-alena-scurica-radi-li-adria-pametno-ili-ne/

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    7. the Darwin job is not as bad for 4K as it looks:

      1) every time there will be negotiations with unions/state interest, 4K can now creditably threaten do "pull another Darwin"

      2) they will very likely fly those Saabs anyway; just lost a few months; and probably even saved may euros in the process...

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    8. Really not so good. Topical capitalist story

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    9. Saabs are sold to american company. There are no Saabs anymore. Adria negotiate to lease some of those Saabs from Americans.

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    10. And what will an american company make with these old planes? I mean if they are useless for most of the regional routes here in the EU, what purpose will they serve over the atlantic? Or they will lease them here, but to whom?

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    11. Bankruptcy manager sold saabs to leasing company, but Skywork airlines filed a court complaint again and Saabs are not sold jet. But Saabs are coming to Adria, they alread made an agreament with lessor.

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    12. Saab 2000 were sold to Jetstream Aviation Capitalu from Maiami, USD, company specialized for turboprops.

      Saabs are not useless for PSO routes which you have so many in USA, Canada, Scotland, France...

      Adria negotiate to lease some of those Saabs from September. But Swiss company SkyWork made appeal to Federal court about procedure of selling those planes so they are still blocked till legal procedure will be finished.

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    13. I dok su uz nešto otkazivanja, kratkih najmova drugih firmi i spajanja linija uspjeli nekako odraditi zimska povećanja, ona ljetna su bila daleko veći problem zbog silnih najava. Stoga je Adria iznajmila dodatne kapacitete. Iz Ljubljane lete po dva aviona stranih kompanija. Činjenica je da je Adria planirala koristiti dva Saaba 2000 za sve nove linije i povećanja linija. Uz to planirala je koristiti i treći Saab za planiranu bazu u Paderborneu. I sada je kratka sa kapacitetima. Umjesto Saaba 2000 sa 50 mjesta, Adria leti sa CRJ-900 ili Fokkerom 100. To znači da lete sa duplo većim avionom i to jetom umjesto turbopropa. Skupo, vrlo skupo. Posebno za nove linije, koje prvih nekoliko tjedana imaju vrlo slabu popunjenost, a prve godine svakako popunjenost i prihodi nisu zadovoljavajući. I tu bi Saab bio dobar avion za takve nove linije. 100-seater jet svakako ima bitno više troškova, on će stvoriti još veće gubitke pokretanja linija. Adria je poprilično nagovarala Trade Air da ustupi jedan Fokker 100, no oni to nisu mogli radi zauzetosti aviona. Adria je odustala od povećanja za Podgoricu za četiri dodatna leta, pa umjesto 11 letova tjedno leti kao i prošle godine njih 7. Istina, prošle godine letjela je sa manjim avionom, a planirala je 11 letova sa Saabom 2000, tako da je sadašnji Carpatairov Fokker F100 ozbiljno povećanje kapaciteta čak i od planiranog broja frekvencija sa Saabom i od prošlogodišnjeg kapaciteta, no ipak ovo jasno pokazuje kolike probleme Adrija trenutno ima.

      Osim ozbiljno većih troškova za nove linije, Adrija ima i problem posada Saaba koje preuzela iz Darwina, nabavila kroz natječaje, i koje je školovala i zaposlila. Ti ljudi trenutno nemaju na čemu letjeti i svakako koštaju kompaniju iako ne lete.

      Saabovi bi trebali doći u rujnu (septembru) i zamijeniti trenutno iznajmljene avione. No, plan Adrie se izjalovio. Avioni su zaplijenjeni i prodani radi namirenja obveze stečaja. Avioni su prodani Jetstream Aviation Capitalu iz Maiamia, SAD, specijalizirane kompanije za lizing turbopropnih aviona. No, SkyWork, švicarska kompanija koja je umalo doživjela sudbinu Darwina i u floti ima četiri Saaba 2000, žalila se na netransparentnost postupka prodaje. U Uredu za stečaj u Luganu odbijena je žalba, a SkyWork se potom žalio na federalni sud. Adria bi navodno dio tih Saabova od novog vlasnika uzela u lizing. No, ako postupak žalbe na federalnom sudu ne završi vrlo brzo, Adria će teško doći do tih aviona do planiranog roka u rujnu. A to znači da posade i dalje ne rade ništa, dodatni lizing tuđih aviona, dodatne troškove i prevelike avione izvan sezone i tijekom zime. Loša poslovna procjena, riskantan plan sa stečajem Darwina, planiranje operacija sa avionom kojeg u stvari nisu imali po načelu „sprema se ražanj a zec je u šumi“. Vrlo aljkavo i poprilično diletantski napravljeno. Kod nas se u ovakvim slučajevima kaže „ta svadba bu koštala“.

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  2. This will turn out the same way as Garuda, Aegean, Lufthansa, Turkish interest.

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    1. Croatovanje

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    2. Saying thanks to your crystall ball Nostradamus

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    3. I don't need a crystal ball. I have seen the same scenario repeat itself multiple times.

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    4. So far, it's still less time than 11 attempts to sell Jat. And it had been sold at the end. So why would this story be different? With all potentials in tourism and diaspora Croatia has? But if it's your wishfull thinking that has nothing to do with reality, than ok, I understand

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  3. I still don't think LOT is financially stable enough to take over any airline.

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    1. And I also fear their soul interest would be to feed Warsaw.

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    2. Didn't they buy Nordica?

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    3. They didn't buy them. They are just a strategic partner, like Adria was. And they get some money from Nordica using LOT's reservation platform and some infrastructure.

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    4. Nordica is a tiny regional carrier, it's not like they are developing them into a serious regional player.

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    5. @8.47 how would they feed LOT's routes to western Europe to Zagreb. Makes no sense.

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    6. Not true. LOT is 49% owner of Nordica.

      Nordica is company with 18 planes in fleet (6 ATR72, 2 CRJ700 and 10 CRJ900) so it is bigger than Croatia.

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    7. How much did they pay for it?

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    8. Nice. Maybe LO could buy OU and turn it into Nordica Balkans. It could be their mini southern base linking ZAG with the biggest cities in Europe.

      Other markets can be taken care of by airlines such as LH, OS, JU, A3, TK, KL, LO...

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    9. @AnonymousJune 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM

      No they're not bigger than Croatia, they have more planes, well leased planes.

      OU owns much of its fleet, perhaps not smartest thing OU did. Leasing the aircraft for 10-15 years is much better for a start up airline.

      If OU leased all its airbuses from a word go, they'd be making good profits now and perhaps even have enough money for brand new A320 NEOs outright.

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    10. OU owns like 4 planes in total. I don't know where you got that the majority of their fleet is owned by them.

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    11. OU owns just 4 old A319 and 1 old A320 without engines, and just 3 engines. So it is far from "most ov its fleet). 7 out of 12 planes are leased and 21 out of 24 engines are leased.

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    12. LOT is not 49% owner of Nordica, it is 100% owned by Estonian state. Regional Jet is 51% owned by Nordica and 49% by LOT. Regional Jet is operating the planes, currently 6 for Nordica (2 ATR and 4 CRJ900), 5 for LOT (CRJ900), 4 for SAS (ATR) and 1 for PSO in Netherlands. Formally all these planes are leased, but in reality 6 planes(same amount as Nordica is using) are owned by Estonian state. LOT's 49% in Regional Jet was given to them, so they can control what they paying for (for example, that Nordica isn't using LOT's money to operate it's own flights).

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  4. 4k seems plausible to me.

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    1. I agree. And it could turn out to be a nice regional airline with two distinctive brands.

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    2. And I assume the government will also have to pay them something, as was the case with Adria.

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    3. @AnonymousJune 28, 2018 at 8:48 AM

      It is not, OU won't be sold, unless serious offer comes to the table, there's no chance of sale.

      Korean air is only serious player that might buy stake in OU, they could give OU 3-4 A320 NEOs for 49% stake, the deal could happen by 2020, not earlier.

      OU will need at least 16 aircraft in 2019 to cope with the demand, even with 14 aircraft now they're barely able to keep up.

      Also, OU needs to hire at least 100 mechanics in Croatia, getting these right now won't be easy, as Europeans pay much better, I predict Croatian pays will skyrocket as a result of EU membership, only way to keep workers in Croatia.

      Unemployment already at 7% and falling, it is expected by 2020, unemployment will be 3-4%, not good if you need to hire qualified staff, wages will need to go up significantly to keep people in Croatia.

      Average Croatian NET pay is already one of the highest in central Europe @€875. Gross oay is approaching €1200.

      In 2020, Average NET pay will probably be around €1000 and Gross, €1270.

      Slovenia still has highest pays in Ex-Commie block, with €1090, followed by Estonia with €1050 and Czech R with €950.



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    4. You expect Korean Air to buy Croatia Airlines even though they just sold their stake in CSA and said they have no intention of investing in any European airline? Right.

      Also regarding pay, we have been in the EU for 5 years already and the brain drain has only grown and grown. I'm waiting for my pay to "sky rocket" for 5 years now. Nothing.

      Reality check please. I love how diaspora people have a completed twisted sense of reality.

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    5. Hahahaa CRO has one of the highest NET pay in central europe?? Hahaha u must be joking, unless central europe for u is Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia. Pls, take ur pills

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    6. @SloavioJune 28, 2018 at 1:44 PM

      Ex-commie states, I am not compering Cro-pays to Austrian, German or Swiss pays ffs.

      @AnonymousJune 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM

      Your pay won't skyrocket, but hopefully it'll grow if you work for a good company, and not some doggy privatnik, who won't even pay your benefits or gives you only minimalac.

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    7. So then dont use central europe word, bcs central europe includes austria etc. And another thing...in any case croatian (or slovenian) net salary should not and can not be called high

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    8. Dijaspora na aparatima. Nemaju veze s vezom i jos pametuju. A te prognoze su najaci dio.

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    9. @SloavioJune 28, 2018 at 3:02 PM

      They're not high, i am saying they're high, i am saying they need to be higher, much higher to keep qualified workers in the country. You simply can't compete with Germany when pays here are between 7000 and 14000 kuna per month for highly qualified aerospace mechanic/engineer.

      Their pays must be doubled if we want to keep these highly qualified individuals in Croatia, same goes for number of other professions.

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    10. "They're not high, i am saying they're not high, i am saying they need to be higher, "

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  5. I fear this privatization attempt will turn out as all the others - without any concrete results.

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    1. Agree. Does anyone know what's the status of the planned strike at OU?

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    2. It will happen next month unless government/management don't agree to terms.

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    3. I really hope its averted.

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  6. So is this what OU has come down to? Being bought by a shady investment fund or by LO which would make it a feeder, so basically the same scenario we have with LH.
    This is stupid, the government better not sell than to create such a situation.

    I bet LO would remove most Airbuses and switch them to Embraers to fly to just a few European destinations. All Scandinavia would be routed via Poland.

    Wonderful .. not.

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  7. I am still rooting for Garuda.

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    1. Me too. But I fear that ship has sailed.

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  8. LOT's interest could be down mostly to securing rights to fly from Croatia to the US.

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    1. They can already do that now. They don't have to buy an airline to start flying from ZAG to the US. Just like they did in Budapest.

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    2. But in Hungary there is no national carrier. In Croatia there is.

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    3. even better, they can get feed from OU from ex-yu airports

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    4. LO already has feed at WAW. ZAG would b overshadowed by BUD which is incomparably larger abd wealthier.

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    5. BUD has FR and W6... OU compared to them is a lullaby

      OU can gain a lot from LOT opening a US flight from ZAG

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    6. Why would LO open US flights from ZAG? They are after year-round markets. Opening seasonal bases is not an option for them because it costs a lot of money.

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    7. BUD is not wealthier than ZAG.
      Croatia is much more superior to Hungary when it comes to airports and airlines.

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    8. In what universe isn't Budapest superior to Zagreb? Just look at the number of airlines there and the number of passengers.

      Sorry but you can't compare the two. There is a reason why LO went for BUD.

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    9. Twisting the words and meaning again. Why? He didn't say ZAG is superior to BUD, he said ZAG is wealthier than BUD, which is the facts. About superiority : Croatia has more airports and more airlines serving it compared to Hungary , so yes, in that part Croatia is superior to Hungary. And number of passangers, on country level is approximately the same. And the fact that LO came to BUD with Dreamliner doesn't mean it won't come to ZAG as well, especially If it buys stake in OU, and knowing they are getting 15 Dreamliner over short period of time.

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    10. Zagreb is not wealthier than Budapest (since you insist on not twisting the facts)

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    11. Because you can't compare ZAG and BUD as benchmark for whole country. You can BEG and BUD, since they are only airports that matter in both countries. Croatia, because of layout of a country and much stronger tourism should be analyzed with all airports combined when comparing the strenght of aviation sector

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    12. Hungary might not have a 'national carrier' per se but Wizz Air to HU is a lot more than OU to HR.

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    13. @An. 12:43
      Local purchasing power in Budapest 14.05 % LOWER than in Zagreb, by official statistics. Please check your information before posting. Thanks.

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    14. Basically, BUD has 13 million passengers which totals all of the Croatian airports and even more.
      DEB can be compared to INI but the figures are significantly going to change after W6 bases a second aircraft in December 2018, so maybe 500,000 which is not bad at all.
      Yes, Croatia has much more airports but the biggest 3 are ZAG, SPU and DBV. The rest are very small yet.

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    15. Croatia needs more than one airport, Hungary doesn't.
      The argument related to the number of airports is moot in this case.

      As mentioned earlier, BUD is a global airport with numerous intercontinental air links. Zagreb on the other hand doesn't even have 200.000 per month outside the few summer months.

      Then there is the question of cargo movement.

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  9. Like Purger predict 4K interest. He also said they have interest in Montenegro. Than we would have big company in region with 3 bases. Trouble for Air Serbia

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    1. So joining three failed airlines would bring success? Etihadand Swissair would disagree with you.

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    2. Of course it will not.

      But that does not mean 4K has no interest in it, and could not do that for Lufthansa or to show like it is profitable business (as they made first year of Adria profitable with 8 million EUR injection for name) to sell it to some other.

      Main point is that 4K is not here to develop business and really grow company but to sell it as soon as possible or to close it like they did with much bigger companies than Croatia is.

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    3. Mogu da je prodaju nekom ko se ne razume u poslovanje kao ti ili nekim kineskim muljatorima. Obrtanje kompanija je mala umetnost u radu koju 4K nije prikazao. Nimalo nisu smanjili troskove operacija Adrie. Ni Adria ni OU nemaju previse asseta za prodaju. Obe kompanije gube novac u redovnim operacijama prevoza putnika.

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    4. Nazalost tako je. Obje kompanije gube novac

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    5. So what was this Purger prophecy?
      Many theoires flying around, I cannot get them all?

      a) there was some super-secret deal between LH & 4k and that 4k will make Adria a moneymaker and sell it back to LH?

      b) that 4k bought adria just to bankrupt it and will get a train full of gold from LUH for that service?

      c) that lizard-people are behind 4k and they bought adria just to kick out more chemctrails?

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    6. Or 5) it's all part of Etihad's plan to bankrupt every airline in Europe through acquisition and sales. They did sell Darwin to 4K after all :D

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    7. Really Peter? Really?

      Train full of gold? Rally?

      Lizard-people? Really?

      Anonymous 1:47 Etihad plan to bankrupt every airline in Europe? Really?

      If you to want to by funny OK, but really?

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    8. As far as I know, Purger also said that LH is behind 4K, which is truly ridiculous and senseless.

      Also, 4K interest was something even a toddler could predict. I think if they merge JP and OU under a common brand (Adria?) they could go from nobody to somebody (albeit barely).

      Finally, please ignore all of Purger's pessimistic rants about profits and so on - there is a bigger picture here. Corporate example - Amazon has ~$100B of yearly revenue, yet only posts slight profits of a couple mil (or *even losses*) each year. Is it to pay lower taxes? Maybe. But it is also *because they invest into growth*. The fact of the matter is, that investors see the bigger picture and believe in that company, driving the stock price up. Same could be said for 4K and JP (and OU?). Their typical turnaround time for companies is 5 years, but I think they'll stick around longer in the aviation industry. 10 years? That's definitely enough time to make JP wildly profitable.

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  10. The only viable airline to buy OU is Air Baltic.
    The most organised and punctual airline in the world.
    We can learn a lot from RIX.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that airBaltic is very organised airline. I love them and fly with them quite often. But I don't think they are interested in buying any airline. They are developing their brand, their network and their customer base at the moment.

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    2. Wasn't Aor Baltic interested in Jat?

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    3. Yes, I think they even bought tender documentation in 2008.

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  11. If I was the Croatian government, I would be very careful with 4K. We all know what happened with Darwin Airline.

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    1. Actually very few people know what has really happened with Darwin. Sure, there is a lot of people who all we have opinion to what it happened.

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    2. It is very murky and Swiss are investigating this.

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  12. I think 4K is gonna win this one. THey didn't buy Adria's brand just to show better financial results.

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    Replies
    1. They bought it so they can still make money after they sell Adria

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  13. @admin The CHAPTA today s*cks bug time. Whats going on

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    Replies
    1. Works fine for me.

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  14. "4K Invest is a leading European restructuring fund"

    really? leading? really?

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    Replies
    1. No other European RF has bought so many ex-Yu airlines, so there!

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  15. Are they still planing to have the strike? I dont think they should do it , its better to stat and let lot pr 4k pay good salaries, when is the strike supposed to be?

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    Replies
    1. They are. In July.

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    2. Do you know the date when it might start?

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  16. 4K... Links to Lufthansa... CA Eurowings incoming. Purger was 110% right!

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    Replies
    1. True. In the end it's Lufthansa buying through 4K Invest.

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    2. Here is nothing about LH. I'm not saying it's not possible to sell the stake one day to LHG, but for sure at the moment LH is not behind 4K.

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  17. Bravo Croatia!

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    1. Covjek trolla. Sto ti nije jasno?

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  18. Agony continues. Just shut it down already. Look at what happened in SKP after they got their dose of reality. Without OU we would be at five million already.

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    Replies
    1. Sure we would. Sorry but for a country relying so heavily on tourism, you need a national airline.

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    2. And if they shut it down, all the long-haul flights concept will collapse.

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    3. except that 90% of the tourists travel on chartered aircrafts

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    4. That is not true. Less than 15% charters are in Croatia, some 20% more fly on leisure airlines, rest is LCC and legacy.

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    5. "Sorry but for a country relying so heavily on tourism, you need a national airline."

      Look at Maldives, they only survive because of tourism (41% of economy is tourism). And I don't think most of the tourists would miss Maldivian airline.

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    6. We need a national airline because of domestic routes.

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    7. @Purger the point is 90% of the tourists never see a OU aircraft from inside

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    8. And that is because of incompetent management, not because of potentials.

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    9. purger, so where's Lufthansa?

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  19. I just love how secretive 4K is. No one knows their plans or strategy. Whether they will leave JP or stay or if they will acquire other airlines.

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    Replies
    1. That usually isn't a positive trait in a company.

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