Lufthansa opens up the books on bmi to its rivals

BRITISH Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic have signed confidentiality agreements with Lufthansa over talks with its bmi airline, it is understood. <br /><br />The German carrier has opened its books at Bmi, offering limited due diligence to its rivals ahead of a potential sale of the airline. <br /><br />Bmi&rsquo;s assets are desirable because they include slots at sought-after airport Heathrow.<br /><br />Other carriers, including Flybe and Middle-Eastern and US airlines are also believed to have expressed an interest in bmi&rsquo;s books. <br /><br />But analysts said yesterday the airlines who have applied for the financial information may just be seeking a look at the competition, rather than taking an interest in buying.<br /><br />Earlier this year, Lufthansa bought a 50 per cent plus one share stake in Bmi and now owns up to 80 per cent. Scandinavian carrier SAS owns the rest of the company. <br /><br />Lufthansa and British Airways declined to comment on the talks yesterday. <br /><br />Meanwhile, the newly appointed chairman of Spain&rsquo;s Iberia yesterday declined to comment on ongoing merger talks with British Airways (BA). BA and Iberia are set to hold a series of meetings in September, with the aim of reaching a new pre-agreement on the merger.