Slz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1015 times:
On December 5th 2001, Air Holding NV/SA, until now a sleeping all purpose holding, was activated in view of the creation of a new Belgian airline around Sabena’s subsidiary dat which is set to take over both European and intercontinental flights of the former Belgian national carrier.
2 Days ago, Air Holding NV/SA, a sleeping investment holding of Fortis without official purpose nor activity, announced it had altered several articles of association to permit recheiving money from several private and public investors in view of the expected launch of a new Belgian airline on December 19th. Air Holding NV/SA also announced that in view of its new tasks and in respect of a new shareholders agreement it had reshuffled its Board of Directors, although no further details were given.
Over the past week, the Board of Directors of UCB and Solvay (2 Belgian chemical giants), P&V Assurances and SMAP/OMOB (insurances) and one further unnamed private investor all unanimously agreed to step into the NewCo project of Lipppens-Davignon.
According to Mr. Davignon several other Boards of Directors of important Belgian financial and industrial holdings will meet to give the official go ahead to his project in the coming few days.
The Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Regional Investment Companies are expected to pay their contributions early next week now that their respective governments have agreed to help finance the project.
According to Mr. Davignon the aim is to gather 200 million euro by the end of next week, so as to be ready to officially take over dat from the receivers as soon as the Brussels Court of Commerce approves the recovery plan of SIC, the financial department of the Sabena Group which is still under protection from creditors.
This approval is vital said Mr. Lippens as it will permit SIC to invest an additional 100 million euro from Sabena in their project.
In the mean time a plan has been worked out to convert the unused part of the bridging loan into an additional government investment in the NewCo plan. The EU Commission has already been asked for an unofficial advice, and although they strongly reject the idea of simply converting a previously granted government loan into shares, Mr Gilles Gantelet said a public investment in a mostly privately owned company is not illegal under EU competition rules. However, a new request to the EU would have to be made for that and under no condition may this public money be used to pay back the outstanding government loan;.although it is no clear how the EU wants to impose this quasi unverifiable restriction.
It is understood that an addtional cash injection of 115 million euro by the Belgian federal governement would guarantee a swift relaunch of intercontinental services to Africa, probably even before Christmas.
Flying-Tiger From Germany, joined Aug 1999, 4111 posts, RR: 39 Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 989 times:
Ehmmm, why the hell are chemical giants involved? To get their fuel cheaper? )))) No serious, such a structure does not make much sense at all. Financial investors - yes, they know what they are doing. But heavy industry?
And why do I read again "additional cash injection of 115 mio € by the Berlgian federal government"?The 100 mio € from Sabena are the not used funds injected by the government before or am I wrong whit this? If true these are subsidies and have to be permitted by the EU.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 982 times:
I think you'll find that the 'chemical giants' and most of the other companies involved are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by ... the Belgian government!
I also heard from a reliable source that government guarantees or subsidies in the form of tax credits equal to the investments provided are being dangled as carrots. Not, that's got to be illegal under EU law!
Slz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 980 times:
The investors in the NewCo project of Lippens-Davignon which are already known are:
*) banks + insurances: Fortis, KBC, Dexia, P&V, OMOB/SMAP (state owned).
*) chemical giants Solvay and UCB
*) steelwire producer Bekaert
*) Electricity giant Electrabel
*) mining company Umicore (ex Union Minière)
*) petrolium giant TotalFinaElf
*) gas giant Tractebel (part of Company Suez)
For the creditors?
Not much, but fortunately for them most of their credits are covered by a state guarantee, so the Belgian governement will cover all depts which aren't compensated by the sale of assets...
Besides, the Unions at SN just handed a claim of 500 million euro to the receivers for outstanding wages, allowances, and compensations for dismissals. Since under Belgian law employees have priority on most creditors, chances for the creditors to ever get a single eurocent from SN are virtually zero by now.
Flying-Tiger From Germany, joined Aug 1999, 4111 posts, RR: 39 Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 964 times:
Slz396, what is THIS for a structure? Hell, the times of industry conglomerates owning shares in every possible business are long, long gone! This is pure heavy industry involved and don´t make me believe that they have a real interest in the airline! Why should they? Belgium is surrounded by big hubs which offer flights in virtually every corner of the world (FRA, LHR, CDG, AMS) and they are all well connceted to BRU. DAT´s new owners (who ever it will be) are really agressive with their plans but how long will they last?
Does someone know if state guarantees count as subsidize, soo? I believe so, thus the creditors will get tax money payed out. Í´m not a belgian citizen but a german and what I see is something I don´t like. Too much government involvement IMO. Sorry to ask: haven´t you (and the swiss) learned anything from the "Titanic Sabena" and "Titanic Swissair"? These airlines were just over-sized and in both cases it is currently tried to rebuild them to their former sizes - who cares about the costs! Maybe someone could make up a small analysis how much (tax) money has been spend since 1990 to bail out SN or SR... would be interesting to read how much every tax payer had to pay for "his" airline...
Please don´t understand me wrong but I believe that the times of state owned airlines are gone - but there are still people out who want to keep them afloat. Tax money isn´t as valuable as your own money...
Slz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 961 times:
As to the lunatic claim of these investors being government controled, well I can confirm you that apart from OMOB/SMAP all investors are 100% privately owned! You can check their websites if you don't believe me...
It is of course a fact that most of them have extremely good relations in Belgian politics and with the royal family. However there is nothing special or suspicious about that, is there? In fact this is part of what is called 'haute finance'. I thought you'd know by now that the long term interests of financial institutions, industrial holdings and politics often meet when you reach a certain top level. I can assure you from the job I do that the idea of a separation between politics and economy (even in the free European market) is just a naive illusion my friend, not only on the European continent, but even in Anglosakson countries like the UK and the USA. Free enterprise and open competition are widely accepted within the EU as the general rules, but as soon as these rules lead to a distruction of national interests, I can assure you that everything possible has, is and will always be done to circomnavigate them (and surpirsingly not only by the politicians...)
Belgium might not be as influencial as France for instance, but it has always defended its interests in a way that other equally small countries have never done. The main beneficiaries of this approach are of course Belgian holdings (Generale, Union Minière, UCB, etc. etc.) and since things like that do not pass unnoted in these circles, it seems it is now time to do a small gesture back. If you didn't know about those mechanisms or you think they are perverse and unfair, I advice you to run a small grocer's shop at the very best.
Just to give you one of the rumours:
It is for instance well known that Umicore (ex Union Minière) which is now the most important world player in several minerals, was -to put it mildly- very pleased with the military invasion by Belgian paratroopers in the rich province of Katanga in support of its secession from the newly independant former Belgian Congo when the government of our ex-colony seemed to be too efficient in eradicating all former colonial (read economical and financial) interests. It is therefor rumoured that Umicore (a very substancial holding nowadays) sees it as its moral obligation to do something back for Belgium, its global interests and its international presence.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 951 times:
Slz396 - I'm glad you mentioned Umicore. As Union Miniere, they were directly responsible for ensuring the murder of Patrice Lumumba as he was talking about nationalising their interests in Congo. (Not unreasonably as they were raping the country of all of its natural resources!) It was set up by King Leopold to exploit the territory that was his private property (Heart of Darkness tells the tale of what life was like in the Congo in those days...)
Does the Royal family still have their very extensive shareholdings in at least some of those companies mentioned?