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November 27, 2009

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Home » Business » Transport

Airlines await final go-ahead for merger

SHARES of two Shanghai-based carriers were suspended from trading yesterday as they await the final approval from the central government for their merger.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission informed China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines on late Wednesday that it will review their merger plan next Monday, China Eastern said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

"The result is expected to be finalized by Monday evening, and then stock trading will be resumed," a senior official of China Eastern told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

"The commission's approval will be a milestone for the merger between the two carriers, after which they can begin swapping shares and delist Shanghai Airlines to complete the merger," the official said.

It will be the last government review of their merger plan after they gained approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Ministry of Commerce. They also won shareholder approval last month.

China Eastern's Chairman Liu Shaoyong expected the merger to be completed by the end of this year.

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.

Shanghai Airlines will be delisted from the local market, and all its assets will be transferred to China Eastern.


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