Delta buys minority stake in Brazilian airline

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s second largest airline said Wednesday it had agreed to sell a minority stake in the company to Delta Air Lines.

GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA said in a regulatory filing with the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday that Delta Air Lines will pay $100 million for a “strategic minority interest” of GOL’s preferred shares.

GOL said the investment will be in the form of American Depositary Shares.

“This agreement reinforces our relationship and moves Delta one step closer to achieving our goal of becoming the best U.S. carrier in the region,” Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said in a statement. “By forming a long-term commercial partnership, we will capitalize on the strengths of our two networks to provide expanded customer benefits and better serve the U.S.- Brazil marketplace.”

For Constantino de Oliveira Junior, GOL’s CEO, the agreement will strengthen the airlines capital structure and generate more value for its shareholders.

“Delta’s vast experience in the U.S. combined with Brazilian commercial aviation’s growth potential, provides an opportunity to improve our business model and return on capital employed over the next years, “he said. “Our customers will benefit from additional flight options, more flexibility and new products and services.”

In February, Atlanta-based Delta and GOl entered into a code-sharing agreement that enable Delta to sell seats on 56 GOL flights between Rio de Janeiro or Brasilia and 15 Brazilian destinations.