TAM-LAN merger first approval in Brazil
The Brazil civil aviation agency ANAC approved the formation of LATAM yesterday. There were no details about the approval because those will be published tomorrow in the Federal Diário Oficial da União. This is only the first step, with the Brazilian antitrust (CADE) still pending. Chilean antitrust has not yet been approved either, and the Brazilian process has potential to be protracted.
A related development that may be a positive force for both Brazil and Chile is the announcement in Portugal a week ago that LATAM was involved in discussions to acquire TAP. Nobody seems to know for certain if that was really happening or if it was another anxious gambit by the Portuguese to find a way to dispose of the government interest in TAP with dignity. Some observers in Brazil and Chile think that joining with TAP could give LATAM a European base to cope with increasing transatlantic competition from AF and BA/IB. Nobody seems to know what the official views of either antitrust body might be.