Lufthansa Set To Takeover Air Berlin

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Spohr said that both airlines will sign the agreement later in the day in Berlin.

The German flag carrier Lufthansa said it expected to sign an agreement on Thursday to buy parts of Air Berlin, a low-priced carrier that filed for insolvency this summer.

Analysts at Bernstein Research raised their rating on Lufthansa's shares to "outperform" from "market-perform", saying they expected a deal with Air Berlin to add around €70 to €90m to annual operating profits at Lufthansa's budget unit Eurowings in the medium term.

Air Berlin triggered bankruptcy proceedings in August after losing a cash lifeline from its biggest shareholder Etihad Airways.

According to Reuters, Lufthansa will acquire Air Berlin's subsidiaries Niki and LG Walter, as well access to take-off and landing slots at Air Berlin's hubs at Berlin's Tegel airport and at Duesseldorf airport.

Investors also appeared pleased with news of the proposed deal, as shares in Lufthansa traded 3% higher by lunchtime on Thursday.

So far, there has been no sign of an agreement between Air Berlin and Easyjet for remaining parts of the business, nor has Lufthansa announced how much it will pay under the deal.

Air Berlin, which accumulated debt for nearly a decade, reported a record loss of €782m (£713m) for a year ago.

German media had reported the yellow-and-blue-liveried carrier could pay as much as 300 million euros ($356 million) for around 80 planes - a figure Spohr cited as the largest competition authorities would accept.

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