Israir Group has paid a €500,000 ($544,000) deposit in favour of Chinese firm CITIC Group, as part of the Israeli operator’s negotiations to take over Czech airline Smartwings.
CITIC is linked to the Chinese economics ministry and holds just over 49.9% of Smartwings.
Israir Group has been negotiating with Smartwings’ shareholders for more than a year as it seeks to acquire the Prague-based carrier.
The company says it made the deposit on 3 July, through the Shanghai stock exchange, in line with the parties’ agreements to continue the discussions.
But it adds that the “complexity” of conducting talks with all those involved in the sale of Smartwings means the negotiation period will be extended, with the aim of completing talks by 4 August – although this deadline could be pushed further out if necessary.
The remaining near-50.1% of Smartwings is held by two investors, Roman Vik and Jiri Simane.
Israir Group says a deal remains subject to uncertainty, including the final terms of any agreement, the ability of the company to raise the capital for the transaction, and regulatory approvals.