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Dubai’s Emirates says no interest in acquisitions after reports of Etihad merger

Dubai’s Emirates says no interest in acquisitions after reports of Etihad merger

An official said the carrier wanted to focus on organic growth

Dubai carrier Emirates has said it isn’t interested in expanding through acquisitions, repeating denials of a proposed merger with Abu Dhabi rival Etihad.

Bloomberg reported last month that Emirates was considering the deal after forging closer ties with Etihad in security and other areas.

Read: Dubai’s Emirates denies report of Etihad takeover

Both carriers dismissed the report as rumours at the time.

Emirates head of commercial operations for the Americas and Europe, Huber Frach, repeated the denials in a follow-up interview with the news service.

“Sure we want to lift synergies and create more efficiencies, but that is not a merger,” he was quoted as saying at the launch of the carrier’s Edinburgh service on Monday.

Read: Dubai’s Emirates starts Edinburgh flights

“DNA-wise we come from a completely different angle. The key success formula for Emirates is organic growth.”

He went on to say organic growth gave the airline the “speed, independence and agility” that an acquisition would not and further denied any merger talks.

“There is no truth to it,” he said. “Zero truth.”

In May, Emirates said it was exploring a closer relationship with Etihad.

The airline will continue looking at ways to operate “more efficiently,” including working with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad as long as it is not against the law or in breach of competition rules, chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said at the time.

“We will always be happy to cooperate with them,” he said. “It has nothing to do with a merger.”

The two airlines could consider joint purchases and sharing facilities in countries that they both fly to, Sheikh Ahmed added.

Read more: Dubai’s Emirates looks at closer Etihad ties

Etihad is currently in the middle of a restructuring linked to a slowdown in passenger growth and failed investments in foreign airlines like Air Berlin and Alitalia.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announces leadership changes, job cuts expected

The airline posted a $1.5bn annual loss in June and said last month it expected to cut staff after announcing a series of leadership changes.

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