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QF-SIA:Airlines Deal On Collision Course  
User currently offlineWirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1
Posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1391 times:

http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,2621222%255E2,00.html

Airlines deal on collision course

By ROBERT GOTTLIEBSEN
18aug01

AIR New Zealand has warned the Howard Government its corporate survival -
including the fate of its loss-making Ansett subsidiary - is threatened by
the government stalemate over its future.

Air NZ is required to roll over a $1.3 billion bank loan on September 3. But
if there is no agreement by then to inject funds into the airline, it may
have to slash the book value of its Ansett investment.

This could breach its loan covenants and give three Australian banks the
right to appoint a receiver to both Ansett and Air NZ.

Air NZ's warning is understood to have been set out in a letter to John
Howard and Transport Minister John Anderson by the airline's acting chairman
Jim Farmer.

Given the politics, the banks will probably not act unless the New Zealand
carrier asks them to. However, Canberra and Wellington have only another
fortnight to decide upon the rival Singapore Airlines and Qantas proposals
to break the impasse.

Singapore Airlines wants to increase its stake in Air NZ from 25 per cent to
up to 49 per cent, but needs New Zealand government approval. It would then
inject funds into Ansett.

Qantas wants to buy Singapore's 25 per cent of Air NZ and sell Ansett to the
Singaporean carrier.

Mr Anderson and New Zealand's Finance Minister Michael Cullen both want the
Qantas deal. But the Singaporeans are playing tough and may refuse to sell
their Air NZ stake to precipitate a crisis.

Qantas says if Singapore Airlines controls Air NZ and Ansett, it will be too
powerful and Qantas would have to become a closer part of a global group,
probably British Airways, with a substantial transfer of activities
overseas.


20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKiwi dave From New Zealand, joined Aug 2000, 895 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1315 times:

lets hope that the NZ goverment makes up it's mind soon.

User currently offlineBruneiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1307 times:



Well D day is getting closer

Lets just wait and wait somemore, i am actually glad that it has taken so long for a decision instead of a kneejerk reaction. What ever happens we will know that a lot of thought has gone into it.


User currently offlineWirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1295 times:

Presuming the story above is accurate, it seems Air NZ is starting
to panic, even I am starting to wonder if there will be a big bang
in 16 days time.

IMHO it would be to SIA's benefit to cause a crisis and let both
ANZ-Ansett to go to the receivers and even close both for a week
or so, and then offer new work contracts at a lessor wage for all employees.

Whatever happens it's down to not only the NZ govt but also our
Australian govt, and the way Howard was talking yesterday I don't
think he is going to give way in a hurry. It's like watching an
intricate chess game.

Wirraway


User currently offlineGo Canada! From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2955 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1290 times:

Air NZ seems to be panicing because I think its knows helen clark wont budge and singapore arent going to be allowed to increase their stake.

Qantas have the advantage because if Ansett and aNZ went into recievership then Qantas would get more customers and could then pick anz up on the cheap.
Singapore, as part owner of anz would be responsible for it along with the other part owners.

The longer it drags, the worse ansett and anz are the better it is for qantas.

If qantas dont get their stake then they will merge with BA so in a way Qantas are going to be the winners.



It is amazing what can be accomplised when nobody takes the credit
User currently offlineQantasAirways From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1280 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1279 times:

Wirraway,
Air NZ IS panicking!
There are articles all over today's Courier Mail Business section.
Ansett/AirNZ chief is really panicking, and he says he is running out of time.
He is just complaining that the Aust. Government would prefer to see Ansett fail than have a big challenge ahead for Qantas (which is larger and more Australian).
And of course Geoff Dixon has started his own threats that if the AirNZ deal was not approved, Qantas would have to look overseas and the outcome may be QF turning less australian.

Interesting.
Hurry those damn polotics up

Regards
QantasAirways



Spirit of Australia
User currently offlineBruneiAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1261 times:

Nah, keep going at the same pace. Go through each and every possible solution and then deicide which one will be the best.


This is really interesting. Would love to be a fly on the wall in Cheong's, Toomey's, or Dixon's office at the moment.


User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 7, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1245 times:

Sunday August 19, 11:14 AM

Qantas says won't sit beside SIA on Air NZ
SYDNEY, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd, scouting for regional ties to boost its shrinking profits, said on Sunday it would rather turn its back on Air New Zealand Ltd



than take a stake alongside Singapore Airlines (Singapore: SIAL.SI - news) .

Air NZ, desperate for a capital injection to fund a fleet replacement and to counter losses from troubled subsidiary Ansett Australia, is at the centre of a power play between Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and the Australian and New Zealand governments.

"Certainly, Singapore is not going to go away, and the relationship and our association with Air New Zealand cannot go ahead if Singapore remains a 25 percent shareholder," Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon told the Business Sunday television programme.

"If that's the case, we get on with our lives and look for other strategic options, but we do believe this is a very, very good one for the region," he said.

Air NZ has asked the New Zealand government to relax current limits on foreign investment to allow Singapore Airlines to raise its quarter stake to 49 percent, while Qantas has proposed taking a 25 percent stake in Air NZ.

"We're only asking for 25 percent, any rate, if someone offered us 35 percent, we'd obviously take that," said Qantas' Dixon.

"We can't be totally confident, of course, this is a situation where we're trying to get a shareholding that's held by another airline and they've indicated up to now that they don't want to sell it," he said.

Shares in Qantas took another tumble on Friday after analysts downgraded the stock following a sharp drop in 2000/01 profits and warnings that its outlook remained bleak.

Australia's flagship carrier slumped 15 cents or five percent to A$2.88, bringing its share price losses for the past two days to around 14 percent, but the stock still remains well above the A$2.36 low touched in March.

Hit by domestic discount price wars and high oil prices, Qantas, which is 25 percent owned by British Airways Plc

-- Singapore Airlines' arch-rival -- booked a 20 percent drop in annual net profit on Thursday to A$415.4 million.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineQantasAirways From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1280 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1238 times:

Looks like Mr. Dixon can sort of see that its getting nowhere.

QantasAirways



Spirit of Australia
User currently offlineBruneiAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1229 times:

'The Axe' puts Qantas first

18aug01

GARY Toomey's frustration at Air New Zealand's seemingly intractable dilemma bubbled to the surface last week after he hosted a Canberra breakfast with Australia's top bureaucrats.

The Air New Zealand chief executive emerged from the restaurant overlooking Lake Burley Griffin with a face like thunder after a conversation with Max "The Axe" Moore-Wilton – the head of the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and Australia's most senior public servant.
No, he would not discuss the private conversation between himself and Max "The Axe".

"Officially both governments are committed to a solution," he says.

But speculation quickly spread through the airline industry that Moore-Wilton had warned that the Federal Government would rather see Ansett fail than have Qantas at risk from the Air NZ-Singapore Airlines "behemoth".

Air New Zealand desperately needs Singapore Airlines to lift its 25 per cent stake in the trans-Tasman airline to 49 per cent to help fund a $5 billion fleet upgrade for the embattled Ansett.

But the New Zealand Government does not want to lift its foreign ownership restriction.

The Australian Government now supports Qantas's rival bid for 25 per cent of its competitor and its plans to sell off Ansett to Singapore Airlines.

For Toomey – just six months into the job – it is now a race against time to secure support from the New Zealand Government and convince the Australian Government to look beyond the interests of Qantas.

His plight is made worse by the bitter climate which is driving airlines, globally, into the red.

Qantas this week reported its first fall in annual profit – down 19.7 per cent to $415.4 million – since its float in 1995 and warned shareholders of a rough ride ahead.

The true situation of the trans-Tasman airline will be revealed in its annual result on September 4 – expected to be a loss of $NZ200 million.

The Courier-Mail caught up with Toomey – flanked by a posse of publicists, government liaison officials and "roadies" worthy of a campaigning politician – during his national roadshow.

Ostensibly the breakfast that day was the roadshow's final leg to shore up support from Ansett-Air New Zealand's major clients.

But in Canberra, where the major clients are the governmental contracts, the breakfast was clearly an opportunity for Toomey to gauge the Australian Government's attitude to Air New Zealand.

And Max "The Axe" apparently did not put too much emphasis on subtlety.

Toomey's pace is frantic. While keeping up a very public face to clients and morale-boosting love-ins with staff, Toomey runs the airline's operations from the front passenger seat of his black sedan, switching between calls from Australia and New Zealand on his mobile phone headset.

In the past week, Toomey has stepped up his dire predictions for the airline if it is not allowed to proceed with the SIA plan.

And there is no longer any mention of a viable plan B. Toomey warned the airline was fast approaching a "point of no return", that it may be forced to scale back Ansett's regional operations and that he needed a decision from the New Zealand Government by the end of the month.

Most seriously, he warned if the SIA proposal was knocked back, there was "no obvious alternative source of capital to grow (Air NZ) and rejuvenate Ansett".

While Toomey has been vocal in his protests to the Qantas bid, Qantas's Geoff Dixon has begun making threats of his own. Dixon warned this week that if Qantas was not able to take 25 per cent of Air New Zealand, Qantas would be forced to look offshore, possibly linking up with a foreign carrier and becoming "less Australian".

Complicating the issue, Qantas announced it would establish its own no-frills international airline.

It was more than partial to buying Richard Branson's Virgin Blue airline, the United Kingdom-owned usurper which was partly responsible for Qantas's 53 per cent slump in domestic earnings.

The pressure is obviously building on not only the Australian and New Zealand Governments but also Toomey himself.

Leaving Qantas late last year as its chief financial officer, Toomey moved his family to New Zealand to control the NZ group. But the Easter airline grounding crisis, the integration of the Ansett and Air NZ services as well as the current funding crisis, has meant Toomey spends half his time in Australia.

"The main issue is that having integrated the business a lot of my time is being spent away from New Zealand which is away from my wife and little girl," he says. "And that's tough on them because they moved to New Zealand and I am spending my time over here."

Toomey admits if he is successful in getting the SIA proposal passed by the NZ Government, he himself could be out of a job.

And if Qantas's proposal succeeds, it is doubtful Toomey will clinch support from any Qantas director on the Air NZ board. "You have to distinguish between acting in the best interest of shareholders (and your career)," he says philosophically.

"The bottom line is when you are a CEO these days, the tenure of your job is always questionable anyway."

What is clear is that Ansett is increasingly confronting a desperate situation.

As Toomey himself admits, Air New Zealand is facing a choice of continuing to be an international airline or simply being left a pared-back, minor player flying a few Pacific routes.

>Courier Mail
>>>>>>>>

I guess we wont know whats going to happen until the press release comes out


User currently offlineBruneiAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1217 times:

http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/BUSINESSSUNDAY/INTERVIEWS/STORIES/STORY_1463.ASP

GARY TOOMEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, AIR NEW ZEALAND/ANSETT

Gary Toomey: I don't think we could say we've made any more progress. Obviously the government has gone into another phase of further consultation. They have established a committee and I'll be meeting with that committee next week, so I guess we are still waiting to hear the ultimate outcome.

Reporter: How have things changed since we last talked which was about 5 weeks ago?

Gary Toomey: I don't think anything has actually changed other then the fact that I think the Australian government has come out saying that they favour a Qantas solution. As a result of that of course, we the board, met on Wednesday, and we issued a further statement reiterating our support for the Singapore proposal.

Reporter: How do you rate your chances now?

Gary Toomey: Look I think it is very difficult for me to say how we would rate our chances. We can only keep trying to convince principally the New Zealand government but of course the Australian is now involved as well but principally our Kiwi shareholder is the New Zealand government, so we need to keep talking to them.

Reporter: Your proposals are with the New Zealand government, have you detected any change of heart?

Gary Toomey: Well I think, depends how you interpret statements but during the early part of this week, Minister Cullen, the finance minister did come out stating clearly that his comments should not be interpreted as being in favour of any particular proposal, that they had an open mind on the situation.

Reporter: Qantas has obviously been very active and as you say they have the support of the Australian government?

Gary Toomey: Yes, I think that is right.

Reporter: Did it surprise you the way Mr Anderson swung in behind Qantas?

Gary Toomey: Yes it did surprise us. We had had discussions with the Prime Minister and with Minister Anderson and had clearly stated our preference for the Singapore proposal as it is called. I mean we call it the Singapore proposal but it is effectively the decision of our board of course to put forward a proposal where Singapore takes a greater equity stake, but yes, it was surprising.

Reporter: Mr Anderson must have damaged your case?

Gary Toomey: Well, look, I think the issue is that at the moment our principle concern is to work with the New Zealand government, they are as I say, our Kiwi shareholder and we'll continue to do that. Although I've been in Canberra today talking to officials down there just reiterating our position.

Reporter: But it was a tough arrogant stance by Mr Anderson wasn't it?

Gary Toomey: Look Helen, you know I don't like to get involved in the politics of the situation. I think that all I can say is that we were surprised.

Reporter: Up until now he seemed to be your pal?

Gary Toomey: Well I'm not sure that I would say he was our pal, but we certainly I felt, had a good relationship and I hope we still do.

Reporter: Have you had to remind the Australian government of the importance of Ansett?

Gary Toomey: Yes, I think this week I've been around and spoken to about 2000 of our staff throughout Australia, and the thing that they are telling me or asking me I suppose, is how this position from the Australian government reflects on them. They feel that they are of course Australian citizens and they are hearing a lot about Qantas but they'd also like to think that the Australian government had a concern for them also.

Reporter: With the Australian government supporting Qantas, they seem to have forgotten about Ansett?

Gary Toomey: Well, as I say I don't want to get embroiled in the politics of the situation just to say that, I mean, Ansett in Australia employs around 15,000 people directly. In addition to that there is probably another 20,000 people involved indirectly or directly in supply to the company, so there is a lot of Australians involved in this company and obviously we would like to think the government was taking their position into account as well.

Reporter: But Ansett is under threat and we could see a return to a monopoly in Australia?

Gary Toomey: Well certainly our objective is to ensure that Ansett is recapitalised and the whole process started out by the Air New Zealand board talking to its shareholders and taking position of finding additional equity, and we have done that. We have gone to Singapore Airlines who have committed to put significant amount of capital in, recognising that Singapore Airlines does not seek to take control of the airline, that that is not a possibility under the bilateral arrangements, and so we felt we had a pretty good case. We also had an investor so we just need to keep working and putting our case forward.

Reporter: Have you talked to the Australian government about the danger to Ansett?

Gary Toomey: Yes.

Reporter: And what do they say?

Gary Toomey: Look, I think I'd rather not go into any detail, but we've certainly reiterated that Ansett is in need of significant investment. We have excellent people and again I've met with over 500, sorry, 600 customers this week, and they've reiterated that our people are one of the main reasons they travel with us, but we need to update our product going forward and hence, the need for equity injections. So this is about going forward, it is not about an immediate situation today, but is it is a concern

Reporter: Would you say that Ansett is in some danger?

Gary Toomey: I just think that all I'd like to say is that we certainly need an equity injection to spend a lot of money on fleet and product. That is what we are promising our customers and our staff and the Singapore proposal therefore was the one that was adopted by the board and we'd like to get on and do that.

Reporter: How much damage is being done in having to wait for an answer like this?

Gary Toomey: I don't think you quantify as any particular damage but obviously we’ve got well developed plans, we'd like to get on with that. Every day is a day later that we can execute those plans. We're in a position where some of our large capital expenditure plans like single reservation systems and so forth, fleet decisions, we're awaiting this decision so I don't think there is any immediate damage but you know, we would like to get on with it.

Reporter: You need an answer by the end of this month don't you?

Gary Toomey: Yes, we're announcing our results in early September and we think it is very important that we have a position to state to the market on our future equity position.

Reporter: But at this stage there are no guarantees that you will get one?

Gary Toomey: Well we've reiterated those points to both governments and the New Zealand government has indicated that they will be back to us prior to the end of the month with a decision. We're of course involved in that process so I guess we will be in a position to know a little bit later in the month.

Reporter: What does Singapore Airlines make of their investment now?

Gary Toomey: I don't know, you would have to talk to Singapore Airlines but on Wednesday they reiterated their support for their investment in the company as it currently stands and reiterated they would like to make an larger investment along the lines that we have spoken about.

Reporter: But it is much more problematic then they would have anticipated?

Gary Toomey: Again I think you'd need to talk to them about that, confirm what they would say about that but certainly from my perspective it has been more problematic then I would have expected, yes.

End



User currently offlineGo Canada! From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2955 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1207 times:

Qantas can play politics better than tommeny and SIA can and its a simple as that.

They have got the austrialian government worried about qantas facing three airlines, suffering further losses and merging with BA.

Qantas saying it will look for a forgein partner and "be less austrialian" has got the government into a spin because they could end up with the two major airlines of austrialian being controlled by forgein companies, one backed the singapore governmnet (politically not good) and the second, qANTAS being part of a larger british Airways(the thought of the poms owning their airline is one that no austrialian government wants to handle).

The austrialian government and jimbo anderson are now in an unholy alliance with Qantas and BA to ensure that qantas wins the day.

either way the real winner is British airways, either its has air new zealand backed by its baby qantas and in one world or its gets full control of qantas which is likely to go for virgin blue if ansett and anz go to singapore and is startign up a new international carrier,which is guranteed to be in one world to boost the numbers!



It is amazing what can be accomplised when nobody takes the credit
User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

Go Canada,

Obviously the Australian government will push to get the QF deal through. Especially as there will be a federal election later this year - and threat to QF would create massive problems for the re-election of the current government.

Cheers,

mb


User currently offlineTullamarine From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1624 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1196 times:

MX5_Boy, the government has problems either way. If they go with SQ they risk an Australian icon becoming less Australian or if they go with QF they risk thousands of Australian jobs as well as risking getting hundreds of thousands of people angry who suddenly find the FF points are worthless.

They will be praying that if they go with QF that SQ agree to take AN as it currently stands rather than letting it collapse and starting from scratch.



717,721/2,732/3/4/5/7/8/9,742/3/4,752/3,762/3,772,W,310,320/1,332/3,388,DC9,DC10,F28,F100,142,143,E90,CR2,D82/3/4,SF3,AT
User currently offlineMark_D. From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 1447 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1191 times:


Tullamarine I still see Qantas as kind of putting up a front. And I guess it's to be expected, ANZ's way more on the ropes than they ever are, and this is a window of opportunity for them. But I can't see Cheong as lying down over this if they push the deal through, he is gonna make life difficult for 'em, as he can.


User currently offlineWirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1172 times:

The interesting news article Singapore_Air posted
regarding SIA/VS has blown me away, and verifies
that SIA has some say to how Virgin Blue operates
and where.:

"As part of the investment deal, Virgin agreed not to start up any new airlines in competition with SIA and, with three Singaporean executives on the Virgin Atlantic board, bears its new partner in mind when planning its expansions. SIA has indicated it will tolerate Branson's Virgin Blue start-up airline in the Australian domestic market, but would not let it expand into New Zealand."

Virgin Blue has already applied to fly the Tasman and
a decision expected this month.

Wirraway


User currently offlineV Jet From Australia, joined May 1999, 719 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 1160 times:

Even more stuff from The Australian 20 Aug

Caught between a rock and a hard place

PRIME Minster John Howard and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark are both cornered by one of the world's best and most powerful airline strategists -- the CEO of Singapore Airlines, Cheong Choong Kong.

With almost unlimited capital at his disposal, Cheong is making both governments choose between two dreadful alternatives.

The first is giving Singapore Airlines dominance of the region and therefore forcing Qantas to completely integrate into an overseas operation and transfer much of its operation offshore.

The second alternative for the politicians is the risk of being blamed for Air New Zealand and Ansett going into receivership. Neither Clark nor Howard wants to be known as the person who shifted effective control of Air New Zealand out of Auckland, or of Qantas out of Sydney. But both fear Air New Zealand/Ansett receivership would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and, especially in Australia, the cessation of uneconomic rural routes.

As reported in The Weekend Australian, Air New Zealand has warned the Howard Government in writing that the corporate survival of the Air Zealand/Ansett group is threatened by the government stalemate. Air New Zealand appears to have issued a similar warning to the NZ Government and the unions.

The governments have only two weeks to make the decision and the time available for a decision may be further curtailed if unsecured creditors of Ansett or Air New Zealand get jittery.

On September 3, a $1.3 million loan facility led by Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac is due to roll over. It is unlikely that the banks would appoint a receiver but if the stalemate continues, Air New Zealand directors will no doubt consider writing down their investment in Ansett.

This would cause their loan agreements to be in breach, even though -- as Air New Zealand CEO Gary Toomey points out -- the group is cash positive. Given the letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Air NZ directors may consider calling for a receiver.

What Cheong wants is to increase Singapore Airlines' stake in Air New Zealand from 25 to up to 49 per cent. He would then inject big sums into Ansett to save the airline. Qantas wants to buy Singapore's stake in Air New Zealand and have Singapore buy Ansett.

Negotiations between Qantas and Singapore Airlines proceeded on this option and Australian Transport Minister John Anderson and NZ Finance Minister Michael Cullen both backed it. But, as the power of his position and the potential of regional dominance became apparent, Cheong toughened his stance.



His people now say that if he can't lift his holding he will not sell his 25 per cent stake to Qantas, knowing that it would, in time, send Ansett to the wall.

On the other hand, Cheong's game is a dangerous one because the Singapore government-backed institutions -- known as Singapore Inc -- played a big role in creating the Ansett crisis to the benefit of Singapore Airlines.

Sometimes when a powerful international businessman backs national politicians against a wall the politicians will fight and, in this case, there is goodwill between the Singapore and Australian governments.

The Australian Government let Singapore Telecom buy Optus. To date, Cheong's handling of the situation has been brilliant. Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Government were very unhappy that, before the Qantas float, the Australian Government chose British Airways rather than Singapore Airlines as the international partner for Qantas.

Inevitably, that was going to mean there would be regional rivalry between the two airlines but in Singapore it was seen as a mere setback to Singapore Airlines' master plan to dominate the region.

Singapore's next step was to offer to buy half of Ansett from The News Corporation Ltd at what was a top price.

At the time, few thought the chairman of Air New Zealand -- which owned the other half of Ansett -- would be stupid enough to exercise his airline's pre- emptive right and buy the remaining half of Ansett. Air New Zealand had neither the management talents to operate Ansett nor the wherewithal to fund its capital requirements.

However, Cushing might have got away with the gamble had Singapore Inc not intervened.

Singapore Inc backed the start-up of two discount airlines in Australia, Virgin and Impulse. They withdrew support from Impulse, only when it refused to merge with Virgin.

Singapore Airlines has always claimed it has nothing to do with Singapore Inc but few in the New Zealand or Australian governments believe it because the co-ordination between the two Singapore arms has been brilliant.

Qantas was slow in appreciating just how powerful the partnership of Singapore, Ansett and Air New Zealand would be when combined with Singapore's virtually unlimited capital. The Qantas market capitalisation is only $3.8 billion, whereas Singapore Airlines is capitalised at around $16 billion.

If it was geared to the level of Qantas it could borrow $12 billion. Faced with such financial and market power in the region, Qantas will be relegated to an uneconomic small regional player with insufficient scale to go it alone against the Cheong juggernaut. If Cheong achieves his goal of regional dominance, Qantas will keep its brand but will integrate its total operation into a world alliance managed on a global basis, probably with British Airways.

Air New Zealand is effectively the balance of power. It will decide whether there is a major airline group based in Australia/New Zealand or whether control of the local airlines moves to Singapore and London.

In normal corporate circumstances this sort of wrangle would be sorted out commercially with a bidding war to buy the company with the balance of power. But because there are ownership restrictions on Air New Zealand and Qantas and all airlines operate under government licences, it becomes a question for governments.

The Australian and New Zealand governments know what is ahead of them once control of their airlines is lost. If the governments take a strong line, Cheong will probably back down despite the present bravado. And if he doesn't , then there may be other ways for the combination of Qantas and the Governments to skewer him. But he is in a very powerful position and he and Singapore Inc know it.

Robert Gottliebsen writes daily for

The Australian and hosts Business Daily on

Sky News channel at 8.30pm and 11.30pm



User currently offlineDalecary From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1149 times:

for anyone still doubting who is the real predator in this situation, have a good read of the article posted by V Jet. Don't forget SQ agreed to the QF proposal initially, as pointed out in this article. I remain sceptical as to why they changed their mind,when on many previous occasions they have been luke-warm on their NZ shareholding and have always,always announced they would like to have a greater stake in AN. I still believe there must be a great deal of antipathy b/w NZ and SQ over the AN ownership issue. AN wanted SQ to have a 50% stake but this was blocked by the NZ board. Obviously the tone of this article supports the QF proposal,if the Australian and NZ Govt's want control of their airlines to remain in the region. The biggest endorsement for the QF proposal that I have seen yet.

Dale.


User currently offlineWirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1140 times:

Dalecary

The article by V jet is no doubt the most informative
posted since this all began, and has certainly made
myself have a rethink of the consequenses of
SIA=Singapore Inc takeing control of the region.
Obviously they have full control of Virgin Blue as well,
lets hope the governments of Aust and NZ come up
with the right decision, my gut feeling is hold them to
25%.

Wirraway


User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 19, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1122 times:

Ffs, (no offence), Singapore Inc does not protect SIA. SIA is NOT protected from COMPETETION, and SIA DID NOT get money for 3 742s when it first started, from the Government (Singapore.Inc), and therefore went into DEBT!!!

True, the article is an interesting read. However, it portrays Singapore Airlines as Singapore Inc. WHICH IT IS NOT. SIA has never been business-controlled or financially-controlled by Temasek Holdings aka. Singapore Inc. The control is with Cheong, and whether some people are avoiding the fact or wanting to dismiss the fact, that under Cheong's guidance, SIA is the best and a powerful airline in the world, and in the Asia-Pacific region, and that is where SIA is. Not with the help of a Government who didn't loan money for 3 742s in the early 70s.

-----
Air NZ ownership decision due by Sept 4 - NZ govt
WELLINGTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The New Zealand government said on Tuesday it will stick to its September 4 deadline for a decision on the ownership options for national carrier Air New Zealand.



In a brief statement, Finance Minister Michael Cullen's office said the government Cabinet would consider on Monday a report on whether to allow 25 percent shareholder Singapore Airlines (Singapore: SIAL.SI - news) Ltd to increase its stake to up to 49 percent and do away with Air NZ's restriction on foreign ownership.

A rival proposal from Qantas Airways Ltd to take a stake in Air NZ and have Air NZ sell its troubled Ansett Australia subsidiary to SIA is also being considered by a government-appointed independent committee headed by Wellington-based merchant bank Cameron & Co.

"The cabinet will consider a status report from Cameron & Co on Monday (August 27). A decision from the cabinet that day is highly unlikely. However the deadline of September 4 -- the following Tuesday -- still holds," Cullen's office said. Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon met the NZ-government appointed negotiating committee early on Tuesday. SIA executives were expected to meet with the committee later this week.

Air NZ is due to provide its results for the year to June on September 4.

It is expected by analysts to post a net loss around NZ$200 million for the year, due mainly to losses from Australian domestic unit Ansett which has suffered from a string of maintenance problems, a price war, high fuel prices and weak Australasian currencies.

Air NZ's unrestricted B shares closed on Tuesday steady at NZ$1.35 while the airline's New Zealand resident-only A shares were unchanged at NZ$1.08.

The SIA proposal includes plans for a placement of shares at NZ$1.31 a share, estimated at a cost of around NZ$470 million, to be followed by a further capital raising to help pay for a multi-billion dollar fleet upgrade.

Air NZ, 30 percent owned by Brierley Investments , carries more than 21 million customers a year with a fleet of nearly 200 aircraft and in excess of 1,000 flights a day.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineWirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (13 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1118 times:

Singapore_Air

IMHO you wet behind the ears if you believe Singapore
INC and SIA are not in cahhoots.

Wirraway


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