Thursday April 5, 9:22 pm Eastern Time
Delta says interested in Aeromexico stake
MEXICO CITY, April 5 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL - news) would be interested in acquiring a stake in its Mexican partner Aeromexico, Delta's chief executive officer Leo Mullin said on Thursday.
Mullin said Delta wanted to invest in the airline as Mexico's government breaks up the holding company Cintra , which controls the country's two main airlines, Aeromexico and Mexicana de Aviacion.
``We would anticipate an investment on Delta's part in Aeromexico's shares,'' Mullin told Reuters in Mexico, where he met with Aeromexico executives and government officials.
Aeromexico is one of Delta's partners in its ``SkyTeam'' global alliance and Mullin said other alliance members -- especially Air France -- might join it in the Aeromexico investment.
The sale of Cintra was ordered by a Mexican anti-monopoly commission last October. The details and timing of the sell-off have not been finalized but are expected to include limiting foreign investors to 25 percent in either Aeromexico or Mexicana.
``If that were the amount of shares sold to a foreign partner, we would definitely be interested in a stake of that size,'' Mullin said, pointing to a 17 percent growth in U.S.-Mexico trade last year and a seven percent increase in airline passenger numbers.
``We see a wonderful trend taking place here and Mexico will very soon be the United States' major trading partner,'' Mullin said.
He said Delta was not interested in investing in Mexicana de Aviacion, which is a partner of United Airlines (NYSE:UAL - news) in the global ``Star Alliance'' network.
Mullin said he expected other foreign carriers to look at investing in the two Mexican airlines.
``Mexico is a very attractive country so I would anticipate interest from other parties.''
(Kieran Murray, Mexico City newsroom +525 282-7153, email@example.com)
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Now, the question is, will UA buy a stake in Mexicana?