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December 1, 2009

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Home » Business » Transport

Airline gets official merger nod

CHINA Eastern Airlines received official approval from the securities regulator yesterday to take over its smaller rival Shanghai Airlines in a merger that may see it dominate the Shanghai aviation market.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission gave the nod to the merger plan yesterday, Shanghai-based China Eastern said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

"We still need to submit supplementary materials to the commission, and we expect to get the official notice by the end of this year," said Luo Zhuping, board secretary of China Eastern.

The government approval is the final go-ahead the two carriers required for their merger after they secured the nod from the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Ministry of Commerce. Their respective shareholders also approved the deal in October.

After getting the final nod, the two carriers will begin swapping shares and Shanghai Airlines will be delisted to finally complete the merger.

The merger, in which Shanghai Airlines shareholders will exchange one share for 1.3 shares in China Eastern, will boost the latter's market share to more than 50 percent in the city and help it become the country's second-largest airline by fleet size after China Southern Airlines.

China Eastern's Chairman Liu Shaoyong earlier said the merger is set to be completed by the end of this year.

China Eastern has also won approval from the CSRC to issue no more than 490 million new Hong Kong-listed shares at 1 yuan each to CES Global, a wholly owned unit of the carrier's parent, China Eastern Air Holding Co, to fund the merger.


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