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EU Defers Olympic, Aegean Merger Verdict

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The European Commission’s antitrust chief said Thursday that the executive has delayed its decision on the merger between the two largest Greek airlines, Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air to January 2011.

“The second-phase investigation is under way and the final decision is planned for January 2011. The big difficulty here is that the two companies hold almost all the domestic market in Greece,” Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a speech in Brussels.

“It is worth noting that one of the only two mergers that the Commission blocked under Nelly Kroess mandate was the Air Lingus-Ryanair case, which had some similarities with this one,” he added.

The commission typically defers deadlines when companies offer to take steps that would ease concerns.
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