Virgin Express has denied that it has reopened merger talks with SN Brussels Airlines but confirmed that informal discussions are under way between an un-named investment bank and the parent companies of both carriers.
Since merger talks broke off in spring02 ‘a number of third parties have suggested renewed merger talks.’ Virgin Express spokesman Yves Pannells said that no firm offer had been put on the table and that the carrier wasn’t actively looking to merge.
Merging low-cost specialist Virgin Express with business-focussed SN Brussels would satisfy analysts who say that the Belgian market is too small to successfully support two airlines.
The un-named bank is formerly an advisor to SN Brussels Airlines.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is the majority shareholder in Virgin Express with 60% stake through its control of Virgin Sky Investments. The other 40% are held by public shareholders.
SN Airholding is the majority owner of SN Brussels, the remnants of what was Belgian flag carrier Sabena.