Wirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1 Posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 542 times:
Thurs "Sydney Morning Herald" :
Crunch time edges closer for Ansett front-runners
Final talks ... Mr Lew and Mr Fox.
By Darren Goodsir and Linda Doherty
The fate of the bid by Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox to buy part of Ansett could be known today, after the Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, meets the businessmen to spell out the extent of Federal Government concessions.
With time running out, Mr Lew and Mr Fox have said their offer hinges on whether competition laws are strengthened to protect Ansett from its main rival, Qantas.
It is understood Mr Anderson has also written to the administrators rejecting their attempt to relax repayment demands on the Federal Government's $195 million loan to cover workers' entitlements.
A spokesman for Mr Anderson said yesterday that the Government would not change its decision that the $195 million was "not to be used to pay other unsecured creditors".
The Government, however, is prepared to help the businessmen with access to airport landing slots, fast-tracking procedures for the air operators certificate for the new airline, insurance and aircraft depreciation costs.
Mr Anderson said last week that he had ruled out a Fox-Lew request to underwrite passenger numbers. "We think that's frankly pretty difficult to do."
He said the bid had to stand on its merits and not be contingent on government handouts or demands for exclusive rights on certain routes.
Last week, a committee of Ansett's creditors - owed more than $2 billion - voted to support the decision to anoint Mr Lew and Mr Fox as preferred bidders for the failed airline. Mr Fox has said he will decide by Saturday whether to press on with the sale.
The administrators, Mark Mentha and Mark Korda, have argued that the airline's chances of success rest on the conversion of the $195 million Commonwealth loan into a grant.
Mx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 504 times:
This is going to be an interesting day indeed.
We will now see if Fox / Lew will put their money where their mouth is. They have spent an awful amount of money on this already so I don't see them withdrawing from the bid.
Concessions aside, I reckon they didn't expect the federal government to kowtow to their demands anyway and subsequent funding will be found regardless. At least I hope so.
The more pressing issue is the Trade Practices Act and how it can be changed to prevent QF from strangling any new entrant through it's sheer size. Although, I doubt they want to get into a fare war again, it appears they are 'toughening up' to ride out whatever waves occur in this new era of our aviation markets.
Good luck to them. It would be great to see AN flying again with new backers and a strong workforce. Lets see more blue tails at our airports accross the country.
Wirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 475 times:
CANBERRA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australian Transport Minister John Anderson said on Thursday he was confident the government could reach a deal with Melbourne businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew over a takeover bid for collapsed airline Ansett.
Despite earlier expressing some scepticism about the conditional bid, Anderson said after a meeting with the two men that they had reached agreement on all but two issues relating to the A$3.6 billion bid.
He said further talks would hopefully resolve these outstanding issues by mid-next week.
"I think there is every good reason to believe that the commercial forces at play here can be brought to fruition," Anderson told reporters.
He declined to elaborate on what issues remained to be resolved, beyond saying they were linked to competition.
Travel From Australia, joined May 2001, 355 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 456 times:
It looks like this will not be sorted out before end of this year.
Cant the government just make up their mind and as Johnny Howard stated last week: The Ansett issue is a priority - well things dont take overnight, however I didnt realise priority means weeks and weeks.
Wirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 447 times:
No govt funding for Ansett bid
THE bid by businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew to take over Ansett would get no federal government financial assistance, by mutual agreement, Transport Minister John Anderson said.
After a meeting with the pair, Mr Anderson said all outstanding issues had been resolved apart from two regulatory issues which he would not detail.
The Fox-Lew bid for the collapsed airline originally sought substantial government assistance.
Issues resolved included orderly approval of air operator certificates, arrangements for entitlements for workers transferring to Ansett Mark II and cross-ownership of airports, but financial assistance such as depreciation allowances and other tax breaks did not come up.
"To be fair to these gentlemen, they've fully understood and accepted and made the point that any of those things that you did would have to be done for the entire industry, not for one player," Mr Anderson said.
"We've resolved nearly all the outstanding issues, there are two that remain.
"We've determined that all we'll say about those at the moment is that they go to the heart of the competitive environment that Tesna (the Fox-Lew consortium) would operate in, given that they believe very strongly they have to have an environment in which they're given a fair chance to grow and expand.
"That's something we've agreed to take forward and try to reach final resolution on by the middle of next week."
Mr Anderson said the Trade Practices Act was under review but industry players were looking for appropriate competition arrangements in the meantime.
"That's the area we've got to explore," he said.
Mr Lew said the meeting with Mr Anderson nutted out most points.
Asked whether this meant the bid would now proceed, he said: "We've signed a transaction with the administrators, so therefore we have somewhat bought Ansett but it does have conditions."
Those conditions were confidential between Tesna and the administrators.
Mr Lew said he was confident Tesna would take over on January 31.
Mr Anderson said handling of the $195 million federal loan for workers' entitlements was an issue between the Government and Ansett administrators, not between the Government and Fox-Lew.
He was confident the $3.6 billion deal would proceed.
"Yes, I have every confidence and belief that the commercial forces at play here can be brought to fruition," Mr Anderson said.
The status of a rival bid by Virgin Blue and Lang Corporation was in limbo.
Mr Anderson said he would meet Virgin-Lang in coming days.
Mr Lew said Fox-Lew had a signed agreement with the administrators and creditors had ticked off the deal.
Ahead of the meeting Mr Anderson said the Fox-Lew plan should proceed.
"Let's be frank about this, the creditors looking at this would recognise there's one strong bid in the marketplace that gives them a chance of some return," he said.
"They'd be mad to knock it back, I would have thought."
Wirraway From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 1321 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 447 times:
ACCC to investigate Qantas
THE national consumer watchdog will consider regulating cut-price air tickets and seat numbers after complaints Qantas had abused its market power since the collapse of rival Ansett.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said about 12 complaints had been levelled at Qantas in recent months, ranging from undercutting prices to unfairly increasing the capacity on routes.
ACCC commissioner Ross Jones said the authority had launched an inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour in the domestic airline industry and would consider whether it needed to intervene.
"Since Ansett collapsed we've had complaints from Virgin, we've had complaints from the Ansett administrator, we've had complaints from airports," Mr Jones said.
"And so what we've decided to do is ... to expand the investigation from each specific and isolated instance into a more general analysis of anti-competitive conduct, with a view to seeing whether it's worthwhile trying to develop some sort of guidelines for industry behaviour."
"We'd be looking at sort of behavioural things, seeing if we could give some direction in terms of when a particular type of price cut was predatory, what types of capacity increases were acceptable."
Mr Jones said if Qantas was found to have breached the Trade Practices Act, it could face fines of up to $10 million for each offence.