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Aeroflot advises Vnesheconombank to sell Malév stake

The management of Russian airline Aeroflot has advised Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) to sell its 49% stake in Hungary's national carrier Malév, business daily Vedomosti reported on Friday, citing news agency Interfax.

Interfax reported the news on Thursday, citing sources in Russia's Transportation Ministry.

Aeroflot declined to comment when asked by Interfax, noting that any decision on the share packet must be taken by VEB.

Russian business daily Kommersant wrote on Thursday that the possible sale of the Malév stake was discussed at a meeting of VEB's board on Monday.

Citing sources close to the government, Interfax said VEB had not taken a final decision on the question of Malév, in part because of a lack of parties interested in buying the stake. Earlier, a Chinese airline and a foundation in the United Arab Emirates expressed interest in buying Malév. The fact that Aeroflot has a new management and that Hungary has a new government also poses problems, Interfax said.

VEB took over the 49% indirect stake in Malév from Boris Abramovich after his Russian airline alliance AiRUnion went bust in the autumn. The bank, which had financed the purchase of the 49% stake, also lent Malév €30 million and put Aeroflot in charge of operating the airline. (MTI-ECONEWS)