Poland mulls setting up aviation holding company - Treasury Minister
January 21, 2014
Treasury Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinskii, photo: msp.gov.pl
The Polish government is considering building an aviation holding that would include the troubled national carrier PLL LOT, the short-haul carrier Eurolot, LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services, LS Airport Services and an airport operator PPL, Treasury Minister Włodzimierz Karpiński told PAP Polish news agency on Monday.
The minister said the plan was inspired by the experience of the neighboring Czech Republic, where troubled national carrier Czech Airlines was placed back on the right track, "among others, via the integration of assets from the aviation segment."
The government treats the merger as a contingency plan for the possibility of the European Commission blocking public aid for the firm, the minister said.
"I would like to stress that such a solution is not an antidote to LOT's problems. Our national carrier must, first of all, undergo restructuring and return to profitability. That's what we are focusing on. Experience shows that joint-stock companies are more effective and better at management than state firms." Karpiński said.
The new company could be listed on Warsaw's stock exchange in the future, Karpiński added, but the state would maintain full control over aviation infrastructure.
The minister also said the move was not intended to resolve financial problems of the state-owned carrier which closed last year with a loss of some PLN 20 million and is currently undergoing restructuring process.
"LOT is improving its results, doing much better than set down in the restructuring plan submitted to the European Commission. Also the agreement with Boeing on Dreamliner [aircrafts] will bring positive effects. It gives us hope that matters are moving in the right direction, but I am far from excessive optimism. The restructuring process at LOT is very difficult," Karpiński said.