July 2, 2017 / 12:11 PM / 5 months ago

El Al Airlines board approves purchase of smaller rival Israir

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines (ELAL.TA) said on Sunday its board approved a plan by its Sun d‘Or unit to buy smaller rival Israir from IDB Tourism.

FILE PHOTO: People queue next to an El Al Israel Airlines logo at Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv August 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Sun d‘Or, which flies to 17 destinations in France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and elsewhere in Europe, will pay up to $24 million for Israir. IDB Tourism will also receive a 25 percent stake in Sun d‘Or.

Israir, which flies to 28 cities in Europe, will become a wholly owned unit of Sun d‘Or.

El Al said the deal is expected to be signed in the coming days, with closing planned for Dec. 31. It still needs various approvals, including from the antitrust regulator as well as the signing of a new collective agreement with Israir pilots.

As part of the deal, Israir will sell to third parties the aircraft it owns for $70 million and lease them back.

David Maimon, El Al’s chief executive, said the transaction is an important element in implementing El Al’s long-term strategy for expanding and diversifying its products and services, “enabling us to grow the group’s revenue and accelerate growth.”

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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