Austrian shareholders accept Lufthansa offer

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Lufthansa's offer for fellow Star Alliance member Austrian Airlines has been accepted by more than 85% of the Vienna-based carrier's shareholders.

The German airline received acceptance declarations from shareholders representing more than 85% of Austrian Airlines' share capital, excluding the shares held by Austrian itself. A minimum acceptance level of 75% was required for the deal to proceed.

State holding company OIAG's 41.56% stake is included in the total, as it the syndicate of Austrian core shareholders - LVBG, Raiffeisen-Invest and Wiener Stadtische Versicherung - which account for around 7% of Austrian's equity.

"By achieving the 75% threshold, we have fulfilled an essential condition in the takeover contract," says Austrian executive board member Peter Malanik. "By doing so, we have passed another crucial milestone in the privatisation process.

"We are confident we will be able to go ahead with the closing this summer."

The German airline adds that, despite the minimum acceptance threshold for the takeover bid being reached, the deal is still subject to competition clearance and approval of €500 million ($682.7 million) in restructuring aid.

Lufthansa has notified the European Commission (EC) of its intent to take over Austrian Airlines. The EC will take an initial decision on the deal by 17 June.

Austrian Airlines Group recently posted first-quarter operating losses of €77 million.