DLA Piper advises Etihad Airways on strategic partnership with the government of Serbia

DLA Piper has advised Etihad Airways on its acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in JatAirways (which is to be renamed and rebranded Air Serbia) as part of an extensive strategic partnership between the two airlines.

The wide-ranging strategic partnership includes a fleet of next-generation, brand-new aircraft and a new integrated network of international destinations that will bring significant numbers of business and leisure travellers to Serbia.

Etihad will make available a $40m (£26m) loan facility that will be converted into equity on 1 January 2014, subject to regulatory approval. This will be matched by an equal funding injection by the Government of Serbia.

Etihad and the government of Serbia will also each provide further funding through shareholder loans and other funding mechanisms of up to $60m (£40m) to meet working capital requirements and support network development for the newly created Air Serbia.

The DLA Piper team was led by partners Jon Hayes and Mark Franklin. They were supported by Tony Payne, Kashif Siddiqui and Lauren Sharpes. Partners Alexandra Kamerling and Sarah Day led respectively on competition and finance aspects of the transaction.