Ukraine's Government has sold its majority stake in the country's largest carrier Ukraine International Airlines.

The state property fund says the 61.6% package was sold to three existing minority shareholders for Hr287 million ($36.2 million).

The biggest shareholder in Ukraine International Airlines is now UIA BeteiligungGesellschaft, which has increased its stake to 59%.

UIA BeteiligungGesellschaft used to be owned by Austrian Airlines, but a spokesman for Austrian confirms that it was sold to an undisclosed buyer in the middle of last year.

UIA Holding, which was owned by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) before being sold as part of a put option agreement to Austrian Airlines - which immediately sold it to another undisclosed buyer - has increased its stake in the Ukrainian carrier to 26%. The remaining 15% is held by domestic firm Capital Investment Projects.

A spokesman for UIA says the company is expecting private owners to invest in its fleet and network development programmes as stipulated by the share purchase agreement with the state property fund.

UIA president Yuri Miroshnikov has admitted that the carrier last year suffered a net loss for the first time in 10 years. It reportedly lost Hr200 million on Hr2.4 billion in sales revenue.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news