easyJet (LON:EZJ) has emerged as one of the preferred bidders for parts of insolvent Air Berlin, Reuters has reported. The news comes after the FTSE 100 carrier submitted a bid, with the German carrier having recently filed for bankruptcy protection last month, as major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding from the loss-making airline.
easyJet’s share price has gained ground in London this morning, having added 0.76 percent to 1,189.00p as of 08:28 BST, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped into the red and currently standing 0.22 percent lower at 7,284.90 points. The airline’s shares have added just under 17 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with more than a six-percent rise in the Footsie.
Reuters reported last night that Air Berlin was hoping to conclude talks with easyJet and Lufthansa. Air Berlin administrator Frank Kebekus told the newswire that the two airlines had beat out rivals including British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG), Thomas Cook’s Condor and other investors, having offered the best prospects financially and in terms of securing jobs for the insolvent carrier’s 8,000 staff.
Reuters further reported that easyJet was interested in picking up about 27-30 planes from Air Berlin, as well as taking the crews and slots associated with the aircraft, including a chunk of the German carrier’s slots and crews at Berlin Tegel airport.
The 23 analysts offering 12-month price targets for easyJet for the Financial Times have a median target of 1,300.00p, with a high estimate of 1,600.00p and a low estimate of 1,050.00p. As of September 22, the consensus forecast amongst 26 polled investment analysts covering the blue-chip group advises investors to hold their position in the company.