IAG close to winning approval to buy Bmi

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH Airways owner IAG is set to be given the go-ahead by the EU to buy German group Lufthansa’s British airline Bmi after offering to give up additional airport slots, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday.

IAG has reached a deal worth £172.5m to buy its smaller rival and had initially proposed to relinquish 10 slots. It increased the number to 14 slots after rivals complained the concessions were not sufficient.

Antoine Colombani, spokesman for the competition unit at the EC, declined to comment, as did IAG and Lufthansa.

The EU executive is due to decide by today whether to give the deal regulatory clearance.

IAG also said yesterday that it may invest in Japan Airlines’ (JAL) initial public offering (IPO). JAL hopes to raise a minimum of 500bn yen (£3bn) in a re-listing of its shares in Tokyo that could come as early as September.