P.M. BRIEFING : British OK Airways-Sabena Ties

FROM TIMES WIRE SERVICES

The British government today cleared British Airways PLC's planned linkup with the Belgian carrier Sabena World Airlines.

The European Commission previously objected to the deal.

The decision announced by Britain's Department of Trade and Ministry follows a British Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation which found that British Airways' intended 20% stake in Sabena would not operate against the public interest.

The Sabena deal also calls for KLM Royal Dutch Airways to take a 20% stake in the Belgian airline, which would be 60%-owned by the Belgian government-controlled parent company Sabena SA.

British Airways and KLM were each to pay about $62 million for their stakes.

The European Commission, which safeguard's competition in Europe, decided in June that the deal could hurt competition at the Brussels airport, and the original agreement now is to be renegotiated through talks with the EC.

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