27 February 2024

Smartwings Airlines fully returned to Czech ownership

Prague City Air has completed the purchase of 49.92 percent of the airline's shares, which were previously held indirectly by the Chinese company CITIC.

shutterstock 1011385708 lo (1)

The information about the transaction comes after Israel's airline Israir lost interest in joining Smartwings. Israir was in talks to buy the stake directly with CITIC, which acquired its stake in Smartwings in 2016.

The stake owned by the Chinese group was purchased by Prague City Air, part of the Canaria Travel group. Canaria Travel is controlled by Neville Investments, owned by billionaire Jiří Šimánek, and TO-Servis, owned by Roman and Lenka Vikoví. These shareholders, together with billionaire Jaromír Šmejkal, also hold the remaining stake in Smartwings.

Chinese investment group CITIC has recently been divesting its assets in the Czech Republic. Last year, for example, it agreed to sell the Slavia football club to billionaire Pavel Tykač. CITIC currently holds only a 100% stake in the Czech Republic in the engineering company Žďas and in Lapasan, which controls the brewery Pivovary Lobkowicz Group. It also owns several buildings in Prague, including the Florentinum administrative centre, the former headquarters of Živnostenská banka and the Mandarin Oriental and Le Palais Art hotels.