Malév Hungarian Airlines nationalized – state gains 95 percent majority

2010 február 27 10:10 de. Malév Hungarian Airlines nationalized – state gains 95 percent majority bejegyzéshez a hozzászólások lehetősége kikapcsolva

After having gone through privatization for the second time in 2007, Malév Hungarian Airlines will be nationalized once again this spring, with the Republic of Hungary gaining a 95 percent majority in the flag carrier. Russia’s Vnyesekonombank and representatives of the Hungarian government have been negotiating for several months on how to resolve the indebted carrier’s fate, especially after it became clear that the Russian interests which had controlled the company after its privatization three years ago wanted out. According to this agreement, Malév’s outstanding debt to the Hungarian state will be converted into shares, while Hungary will pump an additional 25.2 billion forints into the carrier.

Russia’s Vnyesekonombank has reportedly also agreed to give Malév’s new state owners the 8.6 billion forint (32 million euros) bank guarantee, which had formed part of an earlier privatization agreement. According to information obtained by the Hungarian electronic journal, the government’s plan is to make Malév profitable by 2012 and to engage in a radical restructuring of the airline in order to achieve this goal. This implies major changes in the carrier’s management, with only Martin Gauss–the carrier’s chief executive officer–likely to keep his job.

This represents the second time that the Hungarian government decides to re-nationalize Malév following a failed privatization effort. Hungary’s first freely elected government privatized Malév in 1992 , selling it to Alitalia, but ended up buying back a 99% stake in 1997.  All Hungarian political parties seem to agree that Malév has to survive, as the carrier’s bankruptcy would serve as a massive blow to Budapest Airport and could endanger 13,000 jobs.  Mihály Hardy, Budapest Airport Zrt.’s communications director noted that Malév’s demise would be tantamount to a „catastrophe” for the airport and its workers.

Christopher Adam

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