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Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 1:36 pm

Wed "Sydney Morning Herald"

Ansett showdown as losses mount and time runs out

By Darren Goodsir, Transport Writer

Ansett's administrators are seeking judicial approval today to shield them against potential claims from creditors increasingly concerned at the airline's losses of $6 million a week.

The decision, which may be given this afternoon, should resolve doubts as to whether the administrators, Mark Mentha and Mark Korda, will continue to hold out for the Tesna syndicate to finalise the transfer of the airline's major operations, now delayed by more than a week.

Despite Tesna's principals, Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox, visiting staff at Sydney and Melbourne yesterday to reaffirm their support, the court's ruling may prove decisive in persuading the administrators to bring forward their 30-day deadline for the deal to be clinched.

If the Federal Court does not give the administrators such protection, it will increase the potential for legal claims from creditors worried about decreasing returns.

The administrators have agreed to absorb the $1-million-a-day losses to run the airline's expanded eight-route network to five cities - only because they believe the sale is still likely.

But they revealed to the court they merely have an interim agreement with Tesna, and are reviewing the situation on a week-to-week basis.

The ACTU, representing the biggest single group of creditors, who approved the sale last month despite risks of it foundering, has indicated it wishes to continue its support.

The administrators' counsel, Simon Whelan, QC - who is seeking the declaration that would safeguard accounting firm Andersen from potential losses - agreed with Justice Alan Goldberg in the Federal Court on Monday "that because of the length of the time and what is involved, the administrators are getting nervous".

"It is certainly a big factor that they are mindful of the enormous personal responsibility which they bear," Mr Whelan told the court.

Last night, an affidavit to support the administrators' application had not been filed, even though the hearing is due to take place at 2.30pm.

Apart from their dispute with the Sydney Airports Corporation and the administrators over the assignment of terminal leases there are many other legal and licensing contracts yet to be resolved.

News last week that Tesna had made inquiries with airlines other than United to buy second-hand planes, rather than new aircraft, and sharemarket rumours that the key Tesna backers David Bonderman and Bill Franke had withdrawn their support, have increased doubts over the deal's viability.

The Tesna syndicate has delayed an announcement on frequent flyer plans.

It is understood the Tesna syndicate has still not provided details of the company that intends to operate the terminal leases. But an agreement gives Ansett the right to exclude airlines, such as Virgin Blue and Qantas - but encourages it to let other airlines, such as regional operators, fly to spare gates.

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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:32 pm

Bye Ansett 2 !!!
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:44 pm


I would not go so far to say that, there are obviously
a number of hicups, to be expected with a new
airline, once the terminal issue is sorted out I think
they will get up within the 30 days, we don't know
what is going on behind the scenes for sure, just all
these hot and cold stories from the press.

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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:58 pm

Having just said that, the situation gets even more
crazy, news just in:

Further News ABC News Net:
Posted: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 16:35 AEDT

1,000 Ansett workers may be made redundant under Tesna consortium

Ansett administrators have revealed up to 1,000 workers could be made redundant when the airline is sold to the Tesna consortium.

Ansett administrators are seeking a sanction in the Federal Court to keep the airline operating until its sale is finalised at the end of the month.

The sale process has been delayed by almost 30 days.

During the hearing, concerns were raised about expected job losses.

Ansett administrator Mark Korda admitted to the court that about 1,000 employees are likely to be made redundant, but there would be sufficient funds in the order of $61 million to meet their entitlements.

Mr Korda says another $30 million would be made available if a further 500 jobs were lost.

He says the airline is facing losses of up to $6 million a week and admits those losses could be greater over the next month.


RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 6:21 pm

Will the unions withdraw their support with those further job losses then?

Perhaps now people will realise that the 'bird in the hand' offer from Virgin Blue was the better one after all ... too late now of course!  Big grin
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:23 pm

ABC Net News
Posted: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 19:41 AEDT

Confidence shaken but union still backing Tesna sale

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is standing behind the Tesna sale despite today's revelation that a further 1,000 Ansett employees could be made redundant.

Ansett administrators were in the Federal Court today seeking permission to keep the airline operating until the sale is finalised.

The news that Tesna will take 3,000 instead of 4,000 Ansett employees has shaken the confidence of unions.

Greg Combet says while he is still hopeful the deal will go through, he wants the process to be more transparent.

"We think this sale process now should be very closely monitored by the courts, the unions will be watching very closely because we're ensuring the employees interests are best protected," he said.

Ansett administrators have appealed to the court to allow them to keep the airline flying until the sale is finalised even though it is costing them more than $6 million a week.

Administrator Mark Korda concedes there is still a risk the sale could fall through, but on balance he believes it will be successful

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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Thu Feb 07, 2002 3:47 pm

AN Update
A news report for Ansett employees
AN Update 022
7 February 2002

It seems timely to provide all employees with another update on the progress of the sale, a process I can assure you the principals of Tesna Holdings Pty Ltd are determined to complete as soon as possible.
Tesna - Solomon Lew, Lindsay Fox, David Bonderman and Bill Franke - remain as committed as ever to this aim, we are making strong forward progress and expect to reach a sale settlement well before the end of the 30-day extension granted for the sale completion date.
Lindsay Fox told some of you in addresses to staff this week that only three significant issues were to be finalised in order to complete the sale. The emphasis here should be on the word "finalised". We have not to date reached any impasses on the road to finalising what all must understand is an incredibly complex transaction. We are making strong progress on:
finalising the transfer of airport leases to Tesna,
finalising leasing arrangements for existing Ansett aircraft pending delivery of our brand new aircraft (which are now coming directly from Airbus Industrie, configured to our specifications)
finalising licensing for a number of information technology services.

I would also like to say how pleased I am to see the attitude of many staff who are unconcerned at the many speculative media reports circulating us at present.
It is important for all to understand that we are, as a group, extremely newsworthy. However, we will complete this deal and together create a great airline.
The combination of our major investors, our Administrators 'Andersens', our high profile brand and our yet to be revealed commercial plans are of significant news interest to many stakeholders, and hence to many members of the media. Nevertheless we do not feel compelled to reveal details regarding the investor's activities nor our future commercial and resourcing plans, at this stage.
I am pleased to see so many of you disregarding the speculation and at the same time are forging ahead on the operations and customer service projects which are progressing so well.
Obviously we are all focused completing the deal and to delivering Australian air travellers an unmatched standard of in-flight service. In the meantime you should all take pride in the fact that your continued outstanding service augurs extremely well for our competitive future moving forward.

James Hogan
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 2:12 am

AN II is flying A320's correct?

Is it feasible to switch to their business model & fleet to the less expensive 733?

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 3:14 am

Fri "Sydney Morning Herald"


Last-ditch mission to save Ansett

By Darren Goodsir

Ansett's prospective owners, Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox, are in Europe on a last-ditch mission to lock in key investors, secure aircraft and finalise a deal with the Star Alliance network of carriers.

Despite recurring doubts about the deal's likelihood - and concerns over the shedding of 1000 further jobs - the Tesna syndicate's trip is seen as a big boost to its survival chances.

"It is the final act in overcoming nearly six months of uncertainty," said a source close to the $3.6 billion deal. "Of course, there are nerves, but it is too much to say this deal is unravelling.

"It is just in the last stages of being completed."

It is understood Mr Fox and Mr Lew, who assured staff on Tuesday that the deal would be completed by February 17, are meeting with Airbus executives about securing 29 A320 planes, after talks broke down with United to gain some of its surplus new fleet.

They are also updating Star Alliance, which represents 14 airlines, on their frequent flyer program for Global Rewards members who together lost 70 billion points.

Additionally, they are holding talks with the Air Partners syndicate, whose principals David Bonderman and Bill Franke have pledged support to Tesna's bid to resume full-service flights to 11 cities.

Air Partners's other investment vehicle, Texas Pacific, is believed to be close to buying Ansett's former caterers, Gate Gourmet, .

Last night, the talks between the Sydney Airports Corporation and Ansett's administrators - which appeared irretrievable on Tuesday - had again improved and a deal was again being talked up by both camps.

A spokesman for the corporation said: "We have had productive talks, which leads us to believe that some of the oustanding issues should be resolved shortly."

Ending the dispute in assigning Ansett's Sydney terminal lease should lead to more deals with the other domestic terminals.

"Once the Sydney Airport is done, the rest should fall into place relatively smoothly," the source said.

Ansett's administrators, Mark Mentha and Mark Korda, spent much of yesterday reassuring wary industry analysts that the deal was still on track, despite admitting in the Federal Court that they are nervous about losses of $1 million a day and the prospect of future legal claims.

Their attempt to get Justice Alan Goldberg's approval to shield them from litigation from creditors continued yesterday.

Counsel for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the ACTU, the largest creditor, have opposed the administrators' application.

ASIC's barrister, Michael Sifris, SC, said it was not the judge's role to sanction the administrators' conduct in continuing to absorb losses - while the ACTU's counsel, Jonathan Beach, QC, believes continuing operations should only be sanctioned until February 15. The administrators want to keep going until the end of the month.

A decision has been reserved until early next week.

Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition urged the Prime Minister to intervene and bring the parties together to save jobs and preserve aviation competition.

But the Treasurer, Peter Costello, said the matter was purely commercial and enough support had already been given to the airline.

"It would be best for everyone concerned if the deal goes ahead," he said.

"I hope the private sector consortium can put some more money in and operate a good airline."
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 6:41 am

It's dead.

The fact that the administrators are trying to shield themselves from lawsuits should have alarm bells ringing like mad- to think otherwise is irrational wishful thinking for whatever reason.

RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 7:13 am


The A320 has proved to be a more comfortable a/c and from an operational standpoint better in terms of costs and freight.


Thanks for that report. I have been fortunate to receive some in-house info regarding all this and it all appears that the media are reporting fiction and speculation as usual.

Things should be ironed out within a week from the look of it.



A new star is born..
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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 9:35 am

Thanks Mx5,

I did read something the other day about how Fox's business acumen about giving out little if any information drives reporters around the bend hence all the speculation.

One other thing, the DJ cash up front rumours are circulating again. Even yesterdays AFR in an article about the 2 Marks referred to DJ as cash strapped???

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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 12:16 pm

The fact that the admin. are trying to minimise their liability shouldn't be a shock to anyone. They would be grossly irresponsible if they didn't. Of course quite what would happen if their attempts were denied seems quite mirky, I doubt Anderson could comfortably take much more bad publicity with Enron and the rumors of corrupt dealings with the UK Government. I think (guess) they would look to try and make this one work, another failure at Anderson now wouldn't do much for confidence in them.

RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:32 pm


Well one thing is for sure, the delay in ANIII has caused some amount of pain to both QF & DJ as they had geared up large advertising campaigns.

Which as we all know don't come cheap.


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RE: Ansett Showdown As Losses Mount

Fri Feb 08, 2002 4:18 pm

Fri "The Australian"

Cargo blow to Ansett

The Australian has learnt that on Wednesday Qantas snatched a valuable cargo contract from Ansett, putting 300 jobs at risk.

A company half-owned by Qantas, Australian Air Express, grabbed from the administrators a crucial contract with logistics and health giant Mayne.

Australian Services Union secretary Martin Foley said job offers mailed to hundreds of cargo workers were contingent on a ground handling deal with Malaysia Airlines and a domestic cargo contract with Mayne.

Mr Foley said he understood a heads of agreement was reached between the administrators and Mayne, but was thrown out after a lower counter-bid by AAE.

The viability of Ansett's maintenance operations are now also in doubt after Qantas's refusal to pass work Ansett's way.

Six parties -- believed to include Singapore Technologies Aerospace subsidiary SASCO, global giant TRW, engine manufacturer GE and Singapore Airlines Engineering -- have expressed an interest in aspects of the maintenance operations, which the administrators are trying to sell separately.

But it is understood some of the companies doubt that Ansett's fleet alone will provide enough work to make the engineering facility viable.

Ansett had successfully asked Qantas to grant it a contract to work on some of the 737 and 767 fleet.

Australian Workers' Union secretary Bill Shorten said that work would now go overseas.

Ansett maintenance employs about 1300 people.

However, there were growing expectations last night that the stalled talks between the administrators and Sydney Airports Corporation would be resolved by today.

Both sides said there was significant progress in discussions that would allow the Fox-Lew Tesna syndicate to clear the most significant hurdle in its bid for Ansett.

A spokesman for the administrators said there were hopes the parties could reach an agreement with the airport as early as last night.

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