Air China and China Southern Airlines dismissed a media report of a possible merger of the two state-owned carriers, which had caused their share prices to close at their upper limits in Shanghai on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Shanghai Securities News, owned by the official Xinhua News Agency, had reported the airlines were likely to join forces, citing market talk, as Beijing moves to consolidate bloated state-run conglomerates to improve competitiveness.
But Air China Ltd. (00753.HK), the country’s biggest airline by market value, and China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. (01055.HK), the largest by fleet size, each said in separate filings with the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges they had no knowledge of such plans.
Air China said: “Upon inquiry with China National Aviation Holding Company, the controlling shareholder of the company, neither the company nor its controlling shareholder has ever received any information, written or verbal, from any government authority concerning the above mentioned reports.”
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country’s aviation regulator, also said it had no knowledge of such a merger.
A China Southern executive had earlier told Reuters the company knew nothing about it.
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