The world's three established airline alliance groupings have each bid for a stake of up to 38% in Polish carrier LOT, with British Airways representing oneworld, Lufthansa the Star Alliance and Swissair the Qualiflyer group.

Poland's state treasury, which owns LOT, initially received expressions of interest from six carriers, but the airline's vice-president privatisation, Zbgniew Kiszczak, confirms that just three made "indicative bids" by last month's deadline. KLM, once planning to bid on behalf of "Wings", and Air France/Delta, failed to make firm submissions. Sources suggest BA's offer may be a joint bid with American Airlines - mirroring the pair's successful bid for a stake in Iberia this year.

Warsaw will select an investor following a period of due diligence and further negotiations. A 10% stake in LOT - or 220,000 shares - will be available by the end of this year, but the airline plans to increase its capital to allow 38% to be sold to the successful bidder. The state will retain a 52% stake, with 10% going to employees. Kiszczak says the selection process will turn as much on LOT's position in a global alliance as it will on the size of bids. Much of the cash generated will be spent on fleet renewal.

Source: Flight International