Croatia Airlines seeking strategic partner to step up development

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Croatia Airlines (CA) will complete its restructuring this year and is ready for a strategic partner which would inject fresh capital and step up the company's development, CEO Kresimir Kucko told reporters on Saturday.

He said the company had managed to become profitable and financially sound despite reduced capacities, the impossibility to expand and uncertainties of recent years, but added that a strategic partner was "absolutely welcome" to step up development. CA has no losses or major debts, he said.

Kucko hoped the model of the strategic partner's entry would be known in the next six months, saying the World Bank's International Finance Corporation was hired to look for a strategic partner.

He said the strategic partner need not be an airline but an investment fund that would inject EUR 30 million into the company.

Kucko said one in three tourists arrived in Croatia aboard CA planes, but that CA earned markedly less from those tourists than other stakeholders in the tourism industry. He said CA's competitors include more than 40 regular and 50 charter and low-cost airlines.