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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2000 10:28 am

BA Influence Reduced At QF

Sun Nov 25, 2001 1:50 pm

It appears from the attached article that BA representation on the QF board has been reduced from 3 to 2. Surprisingly, the director to be removed was Rod Eddington. I have never believed BA had any intent of seliing some/all it's QF stake. There has been a dilution of their share stake since QF announced a vastly oversubscribed shares issue, meaning a loss of 1 director from BA on the QF board.
I hope this puts the "BA effectively control QF" people to bed- for a while at least!!!.


Gloomy forecast hits Qantas

Saturday 24 November 2001

Qantas Airways shares fell more than 2 per cent yesterday after chief executive Geoff Dixon warned that the international market would remain depressed for three years.

In further negative news for the company, British Airways chief executive Rod Eddington stepped down from the Qantas board as a non-executive director.

The British airline - which has a crucial alliance with Qantas - had held the right to appoint three directors to the Qantas board while it owned more than 22.5 per cent of Qantas shares. But Qantas' $450 million capital raising last month diluted BA's stake, meaning BA had to pick one director to leave his seat.

Also hurting investor sentiment towards Qantas was a partial rebound in oil prices overnight, and the increased likelihood of Ansett mark II joining the domestic market for good through the Solomon Lew-Lindsay Fox consortium.

The entrepreneurs have wound back their call for taxpayer funding, reducing Qantas shareholders' hopes of a sell-off of the Ansett remains. A definitive end to Ansett would further fireproof Qantas from the international travel crisis.

Mr Dixon on Thursday painted a bleak picture for international travel, telling a Brisbane luncheon that Qantas would face "commercial oblivion" if it did not lay off staff.

Dickson's analyst Michael Heffernan said these negative remarks had sent Qantas shares falling. But Mr Heffernan suggested Mr Dixon might have been overly dramatic, given that Qantas was trying to pressure the last few unions into agreeing to an 18-month wages freeze.

"He doesn't want to be overly optimistic while he is negotiating with the unions," Mr Heffernan said. "I don't know if it will take three years (to pick up internationally). But it is certainly going to take probably 12 months for the American market to get active again."

Analysts were left wondering why Mr Eddington was the one to give up his board seat - leaving BA's Roger Maynard and Nick Tait to represent the British carrier.

"It is very interesting that he should leave the board, outside the other two," Mr Heffernan said. "As an airline exec, he would have been rated the best in the world."

Mr Heffernan said British Airways might have needed Mr Eddington to focus his energies completely at home.

Well before the downturn accelerated by the September 11 events, strong rumors were circulating that BA was trying to sell its stake in Qantas.

A Qantas spokeswoman would not comment on whether Mr Eddington's departure was a loss to the airline.

However, when Mr Eddington was appointed in January, Qantas said it expected him to make a "significant contribution to Qantas board deliberations".

Formerly the chief executive of Ansett, Mr Eddington was also at the helm of Cathay Pacific for four years.

Qantas shares ended down 10 cents at $4.03 on a volume of 2.2 million.