Lufthansa set for Austrian Airlines takeover

VIENNA: More than 85 percent of Austrian Airlines AG's shareholders have accepted a public takeover offer by Germany's Lufthansa AG, the struggling carrier said Tuesday.

The announcement means that a key condition has been met in the sale of the airline, which is battling insolvency and recently said it ran up a euro88.1 million ($108.8 million) loss in the first quarter of the year.

Lufthansa had said it needed to secure at least 75 percent of shares in order for the deal to go through. Free float shareholders had until Monday to respond.

Peter Malanik, a member of Austrian's executive board, called the clearing of the 75 percent hurdle a crucial milestone in the carrier's privatisation process.

"We are confident we will be able to go ahead with the closing this summer," he said.

Austrian said the exact acceptance figure would not be made public until Thursday.

The European Commission must still give its go-ahead before the takeover process can be completed.