Trade unionist says several parties interested in insolvent airline Niki

Former motor racing driver and company founder Niki Lauda, background, has already said he is interested in buying back the airline. (Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Trade unionist says several parties interested in insolvent airline Niki

BERLIN: At least three parties are interested in taking over the Niki subsidiary of collapsed airline Air Berlin, an Austrian trade unionist told broadcaster ORF on Thursday.
After Lufthansa’s planned acquisition of Niki fell through and no other buyer could be found at short notice, the unit filed a petition to open insolvency proceedings with a court in Berlin-Charlottenburg late on Wednesday.
Former motor racing driver and company founder Niki Lauda has already said he is interested in buying back the airline. According to the union’s Wolfgang Katzian other potential investors were in touch on Wednesday as well.
“I know that due to the new situation there are three to four interested parties,” he told ORF.
The collapse of Niki could threaten 1,000 jobs, and render 800,000 airline tickets worthless.
Austria’s transport ministry estimated that up to 10,000 Niki passengers could be stranded in the next two weeks and a spokesman one option for bringing them back was to charter planes.
“The end of Niki is a national disaster,” Niki’s Managing Director Oliver Lackmann said, according to Austrian daily Standard on Thursday.


Egypt hikes gas prices by up to 75 pct in IMF-backed austerity plan

Updated 53 sec ago
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Egypt hikes gas prices by up to 75 pct in IMF-backed austerity plan

  • The increases follow hikes to fuel, electricity and public transport prices

CAIRO: Egypt said on Saturday it was raising the price of natural gas for home and commercial use by up to 75 percent, the latest move in an IMF-backed austerity program that has left many Egyptians struggling to make ends meet.
The increases follow hikes to fuel, electricity and public transport prices that are part of a $12 billion IMF loan program signed in 2016 that aims to lure back investors and lift the economy battered by political turmoil since 2011.
The government statement published in the Official Gazette said that, effective Aug. 1, the price for consuming up to 30 cubic meters of gas had been set at 0.175 Egyptian pounds ($0.0098) per cubic meter, up from 0.100 pounds.
The price for consuming between 30 and 60 cubic meters was set at 0.250 pounds, up from 0.175 pounds, while consumption of more than 60 cubic meters was set at 0.300 pounds from 0.225 pounds.
The statement did not specify the timeframes over which the consumption levels apply. But officials said they covered the usual billing period, which is monthly in Egypt.
Price hikes under the three-year IMF program helped drive up Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation rate to 14.4 percent in June. Analysts said the impact of cutting energy subsidies was feeding through to the broader economy faster than expected.

($1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds)