The ASL Aviation Group has raised its profile as one of the likely candidates to purchase TNT Airways after raising €100 million from two banks as part of the company’s “growth strategy.”
As FedEx prepares to take over TNT next year, the former must dispose of TNT’s two owned carriers – TNT Airways and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas – because foreign ownership of a European airline is not permitted. Dublin, Ireland-based ASL, which is 51 percent owned by Belgian maritime group Compagnie Maritime Belge, has long been rumored as a leading candidate for the sale and had expressed interest in acquiring TNT’s air arm last month.
The Irish Times said ASL is borrowing a total of €101 million from BNP Paribas Bank and Lloyds Bank Commercial to fund its growth plans. BNP will provide almost €55 million through its Paris and Brussels offices, while Lloyds’ branch in Birmingham will provide the balance.
The FedEx/TNT transaction is expected to close by June 2016, so a decision on the sale of the two airlines must be made prior to the closing date. ASL wanted to buy both TNT Airways and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas four years ago when UPS attempted to buy TNT. That deal fell through due to the European Commission’s rejection of the acquisition on antitrust grounds.
ASL acquired Farnair a year ago, and rebranded its four European airlines this past summer. The four airlines are ASL Airlines Ireland, ASL France, ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary. ASL now has Air Operators Certificates in Europe, South Africa, South East Asia and India.