English private equity fund Attestor Capital LLP has acquired a 51% stake in Condor (DE, Frankfurt Int'l). The German leisure specialist said in a statement that Attestor would invest EUR200 million euros (USD244.5 million) in equity and provide a further EUR250 million (USD305 million) towards the modernisation of Condor's long-haul fleet.

"Condor is a strong brand with a proven business model in an attractive market. As the leader in the German leisure flight market, Condor is especially well-positioned to benefit when the tourism market picks up. After successful restructuring, the company’s cost position is highly competitive. By investing in Condor, we are not only creating the foundation for a successful restart, but are also paving the way forward for the company’s long-term development into Europe’s leading charter airline," founder and owner of Attestor Jan-Christoph Peters said.

Condor said the investment would preserve all 4,050 jobs at the airline, including at its maintenance wing.

The remaining 49% stake will remain owned by special purpose fund SG Luftfahrtgesellschaft, which holds its shares on behalf of Germany’s federal government and the government of the state of Hesse. The two public authorities supported Condor with bridge loans following the collapse of its parent Thomas Cook Group in September 2019 and the subsequent COVID-induced crisis. Attestor Capital retains the option to acquire the balance of shares in the future.

While historically Attestor has focused on the financial and real estate sectors, in late 2020, it became one of the funds backing the debt-for-equity restructuring of car rental company Europcar. The fund has also invested in hotels in Italy and the Netherlands. Attestor specialises in turnaround projects and has a long-term investment perspective. It currently manages around EUR5.5 billion (USD6.7 billion) in assets.

The German leisure specialist began the search for a new investor in autumn 2019, following the bankruptcy of its parent company, Thomas Cook Group. In early 2020, it signed an investment agreement with the Polish Aviation Group - PGL, the state-owned holding which owns LOT Polish Airlines. However, the transaction was not finalised before the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually fell through as the crisis ravaged LOT's finances.

PGL also planned to invest in the renewal of Condor's widebody fleet, which currently comprises fifteen B767-300(ER)s which are 25.6 years of age on average.

In November 2020, Condor secured creditor approval to execute its reorganisation plan and exit protective shield proceedings, which had given it immunity from creditors' claims after the collapse of Thomas Cook Group. It is currently owned by Team Treuhand GmbH, a trusteeship established solely to manage the airline until a new long-term investor is found, through its wholly-owned subsidiary SG Luftfahrtgesellschaft.

Between the collapse of its British parent and now, Condor has obtained two tranches of state aid. In 2019, it was awarded a EUR380 million euro (US460 million) bridging loan from the federal and state governments to weather the Winter 2019/20 season. Once the pandemic began, it received a further EUR550 million (USD670 million) under a COVID-specific relief programme. Almost half was used to repay the outstanding amount due from the initial bridge loan.