Deutsche Lufthansa is aiming for an agreement with Scandinavian SAS by the end of 2009 on the stake it does not already own in Britain's bmi airline, management board member Stefan Lauer told a German magazine.
I assume that there will be a solution by the end of the year, Lauer was quoted as saying in an interview with WirtschaftsWoche. He left open whether Lufthansa would buy the remaining 20 percent in bmi which SAS owns.
In June, Lufthansa struck a deal with Sir Michael Bishop to acquire his stake of 50 percent plus one share in bmi, raising its stake in the company to 80 percent.
German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported earlier this month that bmi had attracted interest from 12 potential buyers, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Much is being written and I do not comment on it. At the moment, we are restructuring the company (bmi) and after that there has to be a decision on what offers the best strategic perspective for bmi, Lauer said.
Lufthansa previously said it is considering various options for bmi -- which controls 11 percent of take-off and landing slots at London's Heathrow airport -- including continuing the carrier's operations as well as selling the company.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Maria Sheahan; editing by David Stamp)