German airline entrepreneur Hans Rudolf Wöhrl is planning a bid to take over Thomas Cook's German charter subsidiary Condor.
The ailing UK holiday giant, which generated a £398 million ($621 million) pre-tax loss in the last financial year, ending 30 September 2011, is evaluating whether to sell its Frankfurt-based division.
Wöhrl tells Flightglobal that he has gathered a number of investors around his Nuremberg-based Intro Aviation Group who have a "positive attitude" towards a potential acquisition. However, no discussions have yet taken place with Thomas Cook.
"Nevertheless I am sure an agreement would be possible," he says.
Condor is profitable and contributed £69 million in underlying profits to Thomas Cook's balance sheet last year and has meantime increased capacity while the group's UK fleet has been cut back.
Wöhrl adds that the group of investors are the same partners with whom he had made a bid for Air Berlin last year, before Etihad Airways eventually increased its shareholding in the loss-making German carrier.
Intro Aviation had offered €220 million to take over 52% of Air Berlin shares. Wöhrl says, however, that "we had the impression from early on that Air Berlin was seeking an agreement with a strategic partner".
Wöhrl told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that he expected the UK company to demand "more than €300 million" for its subsidiary.