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Abramovich offers to pay half of Malév debts in new tender

Russian airline head Boris Abramovich, whose companies submitted the highest bid in a tender for Hungarian national airline Malév Zrt scrapped in August 2005, said his airline KrasAir would pay back half of the airline's $180 million debt if it wins the new bid for Malév, independent Siberian news agency FIS reported on Tuesday.

Abramovich is one of the owners of KrasAir and owns 49% of AirBridge Zrt, which plans to buy Malév. Peter Leononov, a member of AirBridge's board, declined to comment on the FIS report. He said it was too early to talk about the bid as they must still become familiar with Malév's current state. He noted that AirBridge has repeatedly confirmed its intention to buy Malév. AirBridge has already purchased the tender documentation and signed a non-disclosure agreement, he said.
The State Privatization and Holding Zrt (ÁPV) announced a new tender for Malév in September. The sale is expected to be closed by year-end. Abramovich, KrasAir's head and majority owner, confirmed shortly before the new tender was called that he intended to bid for Malév again. ÁPV scrapped the last tender for Malév in August 2005 without declaring a winner.
ÁPV recently told journalists that that Airbridge, the potential buyer in the 2005 tender had made an inappropriate proposal as it proposed to take over the guarantee on Malév's state-guaranteed loans not on the closing of the transaction but only later. Malév has Ft 18 billion in debts to the Hungarian Development Bank Zrt (MFB) and Ft 10 billion in debts to the European Investment Bank (EIB). Debts to both banks, which add up to about $130 million, carry state guarantees.