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Ansett Employees Wait And Wonder

Sat Oct 27, 2001 10:02 am

Ansett employees wait and wonder

Saturday 27 October 2001

The deadline for accepting voluntary redundancies at Ansett passed yesterday.

And unless there is clarification soon from the government, the airline's employees - who have not been paid for more than five weeks - may get loud and rowdy in the last week or so of the election campaign.

This is not a pleasant prospect for either political party - workers demanding that someone carve out hundreds of million of dollars from a dwindling budget surplus.

Despite posturing by all sides, Ansett's administrators do not have a formal offer on the table that might get an early payment to employees or other creditors.

There is nothing from the Federal Government, nor from magnates Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew, nor from the much-touted, unfunded ANstaff group, nor from other smokey bidders.

Regardless of bulging pockets or bulging ambition, no bidder will touch Ansett until the issue of who pays the employee entitlements is resolved. Right now, the Federal Government's commitment to pay $195million topped up by, say, $35million from the administrators' kitty, falls well short of what is needed.

Mr Fox and Mr Lew would like many people to think they are the "only game in town" when it comes to buying Ansett. In the same way, administrators Mark Mentha and Mark Korda would like Ansett's unions to believe they are juggling several other options.

Mr Fox and Mr Lew plan to make a formal bid for Ansett within two weeks, which could force Ansett's administrators to hold an early meeting of creditors, the biggest single bloc of whom are Ansett employees. The administrators would be forced to recommend the Fox/Lew plan or something else.

What that "something else" might be has not been formulated, just as Mr Fox and Mr Lew have not finalised their proposal. Other bidders may emerge, but employees want payments quickly.

Certainly Mr Fox and Mr Lew are the most public - and may be the only credible - bidders prepared to buy 100 per cent of a company that would operate Ansett's intercapital services. The investment would be substantial - not, as was reported yesterday, a paltry $50 million to gain income from some properties.

Mr Fox and Mr Lew also plan to take up minority stakes in each of the regional airlines.

The Fox/Lew investment would have an enterprise value of between $800 million and $1billion. This is expected to deliver the administrators substantial cash, although certainly not enough to repay creditors in full. The Fox/Lew group will also assume some of Ansett's existing liabilities.

Hours before the Fox/Lew bid was unveiled at an extravagant press conference, Singapore Airlines declared it was not bidding for Ansett, a curious statement that on face value appeared to strip the Ansett bidding field to one. But there is more to Singapore Airlines' involvement.

Singapore Airlines, indeed, is not bidding. But it is in the gun seat. Singapore Airlines is now the consultant advising the administrators how to run Ansett, and it is a fair bet that Singapore Airlines will be formulating a structure that benefits its position as an inter-national carrier with substantial interests in Australia. Singapore Airlines is biding its time - sizing up the viability of a potential Ansett Mark II, determining the value of residual assets, and trying to work out what the competitive structure of the domestic aviation business might be, say, two years from now.

With its balance sheet damaged by writedowns against its failed Air NZ investment, and its income curtailed by the global slump in passengers, Singapore Airlines has no intention just now of injecting fresh capital into anything. Instead it wants an anchor stake in Ansett earned, say, in lieu of management fees.

But all that could change. From its inside position at Ansett, Singapore Airlines may decide that an investment in Australia is better than standing by as its international returns shrink.

The Age Company Ltd 2001

I certainly hope that the Buyer will have Ansett remain as a full-service carrier, rather than a low cost carrier. Who will get the bid? Lufthansa (If they are part of it)? Or ANStaff?

Is Lufthansa likely to go for Ansett Australia?

Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2001 10:34 am

RE: Ansett Employees Wait And Wonder

Sat Oct 27, 2001 10:55 am

Once again the media has it wrong. Yesterday was not the last day to
apply for redundancy. This date was put in place for people that wanted
to part company or who have another job. At this stage you can still apply for
redundancy up to 21 December and possibly after.

Friday's AFR had an excellent article on the Fox bid. It was presented to
the Administrators the night before the Avalon media presention. It
involved using little of their own money, mostly relying on government
handouts. It was rejected outright by the Admins. It seems that the Fox
grand plan is to get hold of AN's Sydney terminals thru the back door,
the airline comes second.
If you can get hold of this article it's well worth reading.

On another subject it looks like Coke Cola might paint up 2 AN A320's as
gaint coke cans for a summer promo. The advertising costs would help
offset lease costs. Discussions are underway.


RE: Ansett Employees Wait And Wonder

Sat Oct 27, 2001 12:23 pm


As much as I find the idea of AN planes as giant logo's, if it earns them some cash to keep flying then good on em!

You can see how hard the admins are trying to make money. Look at the positioning flights they're trying to fill. Bums on seats is better than nothing.

I wish the media would build up Ansett's future a little more than being so glum about it. It's scaring away potential pax. I have been urging people to fly AN wherever possible. It's the same airline sans service. Excellent staff and terminal facilities.

Hey, are the rental car co's still at AN Domestic in Sydney? I'll have to take a look. I've been out to the terminal many times to cheer the staff on (drive by).


Posts: 1600
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2000 10:39 am

RE: Ansett Employees Wait And Wonder

Sat Oct 27, 2001 12:27 pm

Coke A320s. Just like the Crossair McDonald's plane...

More red in the australian skies....

RE: Ansett Employees Wait And Wonder

Sat Oct 27, 2001 12:43 pm

I would probably die if it was a Macca's plane.

Actually, perhaps the admins can have the following:

Kentucky Fried Airbus.
Red Rooster Rocket.
Diet Pepsi Express.
Sony Sound Tube.
Big Kev's Poking Stick.

Think of anything else?

(Anyone hear anything about a QF744 doing strange manouvers over Sydney? Just saw one flying what looked like a very strange flight path over the city, turn around the harbour, come back over the city again and do the same thing then head west. You 'know' what I was thinking...)



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