Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, reported owner of at least half the country’s aviation industry, is looking to expand his business empire into Europe, a Danish newspaper has revealed.
The Borsen newspaper, who have labelled Kolomoisky as the “mystery Ukraine billionaire” is set to buy the Cimber Sterling airline, a Danish no-frills, low-cost carrier.
According to the newspaper, Danish government sources have said that Kolomoisky plans to merge the carrier with a Swedish lo-cost airline, Swedish Skyways, which the billionaire took over late last year.
However, neither of the two carriers concerned were able to confirm anything just yet. “We are currently negotiating with several possible investors,” Cimber Sterling’s CEO Jacob Krogsgaard said. “We are unable to disclose who we are talking to just yet.”
Mr Kolomoisky was unavailable for comment, reported the Borsen, but despite any official acknowledgement, Cimber Sterling stocks have shot up in recent days.
Kolomoisksy’s purchase of Swedish Skyways in December of last year was widely publicized at the time, as the carrier was reported to be struggling to stay afloat. Officially, the new owners of the airline are Manswell Enterprises Limited, a firm based in Cyprus of which Kolomoisky is said to be the major shareholder.
While he didn’t mention any names, which is just the way the secretive Kolomoisky seems to like operating, Skyways CEO Lars-Ake Bertilsson did say that there are plans afoot for the airline to expand under its new owners.
“We have added new routes to the Baltics and Norway which is boosting our business considerably, and we have recently completed the takeover of the City Airline, another Swedish carrier, which will fit in and compliment our network perfectly,” said Bertilsson.
The company has big plans for expansion, said Bertilsson, but he refused to reveal any more just yet.
Mr Kolomoisky is already the owner of three Ukrainian airlines – Dniproavia, Aerosvit and Donbasaero. These carriers constitute around 48% of the aviation market in the Ukraine. It’s also rumoured that Kolomoisky owns the Windrose airline, also based in Ukraine, but this is something he denies.
Windrose is owned by two companies based in Cyprus, two in Kiev and one in Dnipropretrovsk.