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AirBridge stands by offer in scrapped sale for Malév

AirBridge, a consortium of Hungarian investors and Boris Abramovich, head of Russian airline KrasAir, announced on Tuesday it would bid again for Hungary's national carrier Malév, but would offer no more than it did in the last tender, which was scrapped last Friday. AirBridge was the frontrunner in the bid, which the State Privatization and Holding (ÁPV) Rt decided to cancel without declaring a winner because of "business, professional and employment considerations." AirBridge offered to pay Ft 1 bln for Malév, inject a further Ft 4 bln and restructure Malév's state loans into commercial loans, AirBridge board member Kálmán Kiss said. Malév has liabilities of Ft 36 bln, including Ft 32 bln with state guarantees. The AiRUnion alliance of Russian airlines, which Abramovich also heads, could have brought 400,000-500,000 transit passengers to Malév, AirBridge board member Magdolna Költő, a former Malév board member, said. These passengers and other cost-cutting measures could have made Malév profitable on an operating level in just two years, she said.