View Full Version : All Over for Sabena?

The Guvnor
24th Oct 2001, 18:35
The Belgian press and TV are reporting that SN will file for bankruptcy today or tomorrow.

See: De Standaard (http://www.standaard.be/nieuws/economie/index.asp?articleID=DST24102001_067&Doctype=detail.asp) and La Libre (http://www.lalibre.be/breaking_news.phtml?id=)

It appears that they are trying to effect a similar rescue to that being done by Crossair of Swissair, where a number of aircraft and routes will be transferred over. One slight problem for them, though, is that unlike Crossair which has secured substantial funding no-one seems to be especially interested in bailing out SN/DAT.

Bill prasifka
24th Oct 2001, 19:18
SN has only made a profit twice in its 80 year history, as much as I hate to see several thousand jobs lost you just cant keep throwing good money after bad, that's just not the way the world works. :(

24th Oct 2001, 19:22
It's how public transport works - and the Belgian's seem to think their public transport is worth saving, however any one else's public transport in Europe isn't! ie Aer Lingus! :mad:

Bill prasifka
24th Oct 2001, 19:35
If enough people want to travel to/from Belgium then there will be an operator there to provide the service THAT is public transport.

Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a service that they dont want.

As for EI we might as well be honest with ourselves. cutting staff in proportion to capactity cuts solves nothing. There is a market out there for EI but its a poorly run company with too much union influence. THe focus should be on protecting EI jobs in the long term and that would require radical change now.

Temp Hi
24th Oct 2001, 21:41
Mr. Guvnor, I do indeed find the smilie in your post inappropriate - you might not like SN, but you could at least show a little respect for people about to lose their jobs.

Desk Driver
24th Oct 2001, 22:14
Guv are you sure?? Because
The European Union today approved the Belgian government's plan to give Sabena airlines a short-term loan of about $113 million, saying it did not contravene competition rules :confused:

24th Oct 2001, 23:13

I'm not saying I have the exclusive inside gen, but my sources imply that DAT are indeed the profitable part of the group. If that is so, then clearly they would be considered worthy of 'cherry-picking', even if their parent is not.

It's not good enough just to splatter media drivel across these pages, assuming it is all correct. We all know that much is not. In current climes, one would hope for a bit of selective reporting, if not at least some due dilligence. I might be wrong in my own diagnosis, but hope prevails.

Also, smilies are rather inappropriate, if you will forgive me for being so bold.

The Guvnor
24th Oct 2001, 23:55
Horatio - as I said, they seem to be trying to do a similar deal with DT to that where some of SR's aircraft and routes were reversed into LX. Certainly, DT is the only profitable part of the group - even SBL has been dropped like a hot potato by Preussag/TUI - who had earlier indicated an interest.

VEX are still interested in picking up some of the routes but have said that they are not interested in SN itself. There were rumours that AA were interested, but that doesn't make sense; why would they drop BA in favour of Europe's biggest basket case - especially when as a non-EU company they are limited to 49.9% holding?

I've dealt with both DAT and Sabena over the years and DAT has always impressed me considerably more than SN. However, the fact remains that the only companies that have been identified as being interested in investing in DAT/SN Mk II are curiously Belgian government controlled ones - and the EU has made it very clear that backdoor state subsidies will not be acceptable.

As for the smiley - that's just my normal 'cool' one and is not meant to represent joy or anything else. Note that I'm using a different one on this post!

25th Oct 2001, 11:57
Sorry to tell you, but I will not cry when it's over with Sabena !!
This company in it's present configuration doesn't deserve it to survive!! As a Belgian tax payer and pilot I don't want to pay anymore for this !! Every year, we are paying for a company which doesn't make any profit and every year they are there with the same question... "Can you give us some Billions again ???" When does this end ?? Other airlines in Belgian are fighting to survive and during the past few years many didn't win (Constellation, Air Belgium, BIA, City Bird,...) Why didn't they get money from the Belgian State ??

[ 25 October 2001: Message edited by: EXCIN ]

Desk Driver
25th Oct 2001, 12:02
ft.com (http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3UHKVF7TC&live=true&tagid=ZZZYF7I2B0C)

More uncertainty on Wednesday surrounded the fate of Sabena, Belgium's troubled flagship airline, as the government tried to play down news reports that a move to file for bankruptcy could soon be made.

Since Sabena is under Chapter 11 style protection from its creditors, such an initiative could come from one of several parties.

The government, which owns 50.5 per cent in the lossmaking airline, indicated it was not considering a bankruptcy filing in the next few days.

Sabena officials said they were still engaged in a rescue plan for the airline, focusing on its smaller regional subsidiary DAT, which would involve attracting a new investor.

However, the Belgian commercial court that extended creditor protection to Sabena until November 30 has also appointed three commissioners to oversee the operations of the company.

If they conclude that it has no financial future - if for example the search for new investors is doomed, Anne Spiritus-Dassesse, the judge, can declare the company bankrupt.

Worryingly for the Belgian government, the European Commission is maintaining its tough line on new state aid for airlines, in spite of allowing a E125m ($112m) emergency loan to keep Sabena flying this month.

In any case, time is running out according to the strict timetable laid out by Ms Spiritus-Dassesse.

The company's creditors, who account for Sabena's E2.2bn of debts, are scheduled to vote on November 15 on management's proposals to rescue the company.

Such proposals will need to deal with the new investment without which the cash-strapped company has no chance of survival.

But since the creditors would need to receive the management's plans several days before the vote, Sabena has little more than a week left to fight for its survival.

So far only Virgin Express, Sir Richard Branson's Brussels-domiciled carrier has formally registered "interest in acquiring certain assets of the company and its operations".

25th Oct 2001, 15:05
Well spoken EXCIN!! It seems like they will never learn to run an airline in Belgium. Nothing is going to change just because the guv. keeps pushing in more and more money into this company.

Good luck to all of you....

25th Oct 2001, 18:30
If DAT are profitable, I hate to think what state Sabena must be in as a whole. Where I work DAT figures have dropped off from 60 or 70 pax per flight to 20 or 30, and that's just since Sabena filed under Chapter 11. It certainly doesn't look too good!

The Guvnor
25th Oct 2001, 18:57
A profit twice in 88 years - and one of those profit figures being the result of fancy accounting by Swissair through the sale of the family silver - doesn't exactly recommend the Sabena Group as a reasonable investment! I'd say you'd have a better chance of making money by putting your money on 'Kennomeat' running in the 2:30 at Haydock! :D :D :D

25th Oct 2001, 22:17
Guv, is that a hot tip you're offering? If so, what's the odds?

Now I know what keeps the wolves from your door! :D :D null

[ 25 October 2001: Message edited by: Horatio ]

The Guvnor
26th Oct 2001, 13:23
According to RTBF, Sabena will file for bankruptcy on November 5th, shortly after a newly set up company has taken over its profitable European and intercontinental flights.

The new carrier will receive from Sabena the traffic rights to its non European destinations, all of Sabena's slots (which were actually sold to DAT yesterday) and the designated carrier status - though I'm not sure how they can do that as that isn't transferable!

The new company would in effect be a merger
between DAT and about half of Sabena airlines and would inherit following aircraft: 6 x BAe-146, 13 x RJ85, 12 x RJ100, 12 x A319, and 5 x A330.

Sobelair, Sabena's charter devision, using B737 and B767 planes, would also be saved from bancruptcy thanks to TUI (is't biggest client) and a management buy-out. This is also rather interesting, because TUI/Preussag turned them down flat not that long ago!

All SN ground services such as catering and ground handling would be purchased by BIAC, the state owned Brussels airport authority.

Sabena Technics would be sold off to an unidentified foreign investor.

The only part of Sabena for which no purchaser has been found is SSES, the Sabena/SNECMA Engine Shop, as co-owner SNECMA did not want to participate in any kind of restructuring plan. This would mean SSES will be the only part of the national carrier which would actually have to be liquidated after November 5th.

RTBF did not say how the EU would view all of this - and in particular the non-repayment of the loan that was made a few weeks back (and okayed earlier this week); and nor did it say who the owners and financiers of the 'new' airline would be.

Indeed, as with most things related to the Belgian government, it appears rather murky! :eek: :D :eek:

And today's hot tip is 'Cumzinlast' in the 4:40 at Wincanton; offering slightly better odds than an investment in SN at 150:1

26th Oct 2001, 17:38
Well, I guess that private funding for the new carrier has been found then, or will they use Belgacom, SNCB, La Poste, Belgocontrol etc. as main investors?

I don't think this Swissair/Crossair look-a-like-scenario is what the EU commission had in mind when talking about a consolidation in the airline industry. Sure, the new carrier will drop some of its routes, but which carrier doesn't do so right now? And the fact that things like hotels, catering and cargo are sold isn't a big step forward eighter.
However, what they will do about it, I don't kwon, since this all sounds like a self fulfilling scenario, which does not need EU approval. It all evolves naturally from the bankruptcy of the old Sabena.
If The Belgian government can get away with it, we might see a whole bunch of 'new' carriers in Europe over the next years:
-) Olympic AirLINES
-) AIR Lingus
-) AIR Italia
-) Portugal Air Transport
you name it...

26th Oct 2001, 18:46
always is and always will be corrupt

Sid's Stars
26th Oct 2001, 20:39
Yeah, Belgium is like a third world country within Europe and I should know I work there! At least places like Nigeria are starting to get a grip on their corruption problems but Belgiums just seems to be getting worse and worse.

26th Oct 2001, 21:25
It's Belgians not Belgiums...

The Guvnor
26th Oct 2001, 21:40
I noticed on the BBC's Working Lunch today that they said that BA was negotiating the possible purchase of SN ... I suspect that must have caused some heart failures over at Waterworld! :D :eek: :D

I believe they meant to say KLM rather than SN...

27th Oct 2001, 18:43
Belgian Waffle with powdered sugar. :cool:

The Claw
28th Oct 2001, 13:56
Anyone know what became of Surge Moons? Surprised that SN didn't sink in his time! :rolleyes:

29th Oct 2001, 20:04
An airline is worth nothing without its route licenses. Now, if an airline goes bankrupt, like Swissair or Sabena, why doesn't the government involved offer the route licenses to the highest bidder or any interested party/airline? It seems very strange to me that these route licenses go to Crossair or Sabena's regional without any discussion or bidding process. Any inputs on this?

The Guvnor
29th Oct 2001, 21:56
Route licences - like AOCs - are non transferrable. Anyone can apply for them - and indeed anyone can object to anyone applying for them!

29th Oct 2001, 22:03
Guv, this is not entirely true....a lot can be transferred....as it is done these days...

The Guvnor
29th Oct 2001, 22:07
FL310 - examples? I think you may find that they are inter-group transfers, but otherwise they belong to the government (like slots) and cannot be traded.

29th Oct 2001, 23:30
Ttraffic rights are indeed not transferable, but the point is that when you split a company which owns route rights, there are no rules as to which part should have what rights; there is no rule that says each part must have an equal share of the traffic richts. in short, you can split in 2 parts, one having all the good things like the lots, traffic rights, etc. etc. and one having only the depts.
That's what they did at SR and also what is now going on at SN.
It is not easy, but it is not impossible eighter.

29th Oct 2001, 23:33
who gives the traffic rights: the government,
and who owns Sabena: the government,
and who owns DAT: the government,
you see how easy things can be?

29th Oct 2001, 23:43
Ok chaps, there are two companies. Both companies have their own AOC, both have their own set-up.
The only thing both have in common is, that one company holds shares in the other. This does still keep both companies run their own business and either of them is still treated as an own airline.
If now one company "sells" or "transfers" (for whatever reason or price) than this is not possible???
You will see that there is no objection from the individual government as both in question are more than interested that this deal will be finished sooner than later to continue with the scheduled shut-down!
Now you want to tell me that in the case of Crossair it is not an independent company, likewise with DAT...in this case you better go back and do your homework.
If, and this just as a hint for your reply, Crossair or DAT would be dependant, how would it be possible to shut the doors at SR and SN with their dependants still able to continue....
SR shuts down, does that mean SN has to shutdown because of just this happening (donīt look at the money issue at this point, just understand the relation...)
And this transfer or whatever it may be called is in full swing right now.
More to see soon I guess...