Russia’s Mordashov could take controlling stake in TUI

Russian investor Alexei Mordashov is in talks to acquire a controlling stake in German travel and tourism company TUI, according to reports.

Mordashov, who also owns OAO Severstal, told newspaper sources he is interested in a stake, “that will allow him to influence the company’s strategy”.

The negotiations are expected to end within a month, the source added.

A TUI spokesman declined to comment on the matter when contacted by the newspaper.

Separately, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Mordashov has already acquired a three percent stake in TUI, and that based on the company’s share price this would have cost about €156m (US$229m).

A source close to Severstal also told the newspaper that the Russian billionaire is in talks to increase his stake.

Earlier, TUI reported an increase in earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) to £767.7m in the three months through September from £529.3m, beating an average analyst forecast of €689m.

Sales edged up 9.8 percent to €7.403bn, beating consensus of €7.23bn.

TUI expects a “significant” increase in full-year group earnings over 2006’s result.