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Poland May Offer Stake in Airline

February 26, 1998

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The government wants to amend Poland’s privatization law to offer investors more than 50 percent of the state-owned LOT airline, the Treasury Ministry said Thursday.

Under current law, the biggest investor can get no more than 49 percent of the carrier’s shares.

The government hopes to make its LOT offer more attractive by offering a controlling interest of more than 50 percent to a single investor. It has not yet decided how large the offered share would be, the ministry said.

Privatization of LOT is scheduled for next year, and the government is soliciting bids from prospective consultants on the deal until March 15.

LOT has had trouble competing with Western airlines even at home, where it has a 51 percent market share. It carried 2.3 million passengers last year.

The company has been burdened by payments for new Boeing planes which replaced the old Soviet-made IL and TU planes used until the early 1990s.

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