LATAM merger finalised after two-year process

Washington DC
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Brazil's TAM and Chile's LAN have finalised a nearly two-year-old merger process, forming the LATAM Airlines Group with an exchange of 95.9% of TAM's shares today.

The carriers had intended to close the deal in the first quarter, but LAN appealed to the Chilean supreme court over three of 14 conditions imposed by the country's antitrust regulators.

"All conditions mentioned in the [merger agreement] have been met and, therefore, the exchange offer is immutable and irrevocable," TAM and LAN said in a joint press release issued shortly before the merger was complete.

By combining route networks, fleets and staff, the combined carriers plan to achieve synergies worth $600-$700 million, while becoming the major new force in the rapidly growing Latin American air travel market.

LATAM will fly to about 150 destinations in 22 countries.

The merger will "allow us to position ourselves to operate in an increasingly competitive environment due to the continuing consolidation of the global airline industry," said Enrique Cueto, executive vice president-chief executive of LATAM.

The merger was concluded only a day after the Star Alliance welcomed new members Avianca-TACA and Copa.

The alliance status of the new LATAM carrier still has not been resolved. TAM is a member of the Star Alliance, while LAN is part of Oneworld.