View Full Version : Air NZ Share Trading Ceases

Alternate Static
26th Sep 2001, 02:01
Air New Zealand shares have stopped trading indefinately, pending an official announcement from the company and it's future intentions.
Announcement follows interview comment from PM that small shareholders should hang on to their shares as she believes the company has a viable future.

Stock Exchange was unhappy with comments from the PM, who forms part of the negotiation team and feel that such comments are manipulating the market.

26th Sep 2001, 07:24
Trading in Air NZ shares has now resumed, after the NZSE surveillance panel was satisified with the response from the airline.

For the full story go to:

Alternate Static
28th Sep 2001, 01:22
NZSE (0900NZST) has ceased trading of Air New Zealand shares again pending clarification of comments reported below.

Brierley has its own rallying cry for Air New Zealand

Brierley Investments chief executive Greg Terry has talked up Air New Zealand's shares, saying they would quickly climb to 60c if there was an announcement the airline would continue.

Mr Terry's comments come as the Securities Commission investigates market trades in Air NZ shares following sharp price volatility sparked by comments made by Prime Minister Helen Clark this week.

One market player is sitting on an on-paper profit of $3 million after buying shares at 15.5c on Tuesday. Air NZ shares closed yesterday at 40c.

Mr Terry - who leads Air NZ's largest shareholder - made his price prediction as negotiations on a new bailout plan for the airline yesterday entered the detail phase.

He was questioned about Air NZ's share price during a press briefing in Singapore at 4.30 pm (NZT) to unveil Brierley Investment's $US119.6 million ($297 million) loss for the June 30 year.

"I would have thought that at 30 [cents] it could bounce to 60 fairly quickly if there was an announcement that it will continue and that it will continue with full support," he replied.

The chairman of the New Zealand Stock Exchange's market surveillance panel, Bill Falconer, said last night that the panel would seek immediate clarification on the comments.

Under a rescue plan announced on September 13, Brierley Investments and Singapore Airlines committed $150 million each to a rescue plan, with the Government pledging a $550 million loan. The bailout was conditional on a viable business plan, due diligence and the merging of the airline's share classes.

But Mr Terry said Air NZ needed more than $300 million in fresh equity following the US terror attacks, which have savaged global aviation.

"Air NZ's future as a standalone business is dependent on market conditions and Government support."

Brierley Investments had no idea how the situation would be resolved, he added. But there was no need for BIL to write off its investment in Air NZ.

"It is a monopoly airline with about 80 per cent of the market share in New Zealand ... The prime minister has said there will be an Air NZ."

The airline said last night that good progress had been made on discussions between the Government and major stakeholders.

Opposition politicians yesterday continued to bay for Helen Clark's blood, claiming her "Don't Sell" message to Air NZ shareholders might have put her in breach of insider trading rules.

Mr Falconer said "some significance" was attached to her comments, which had prompted uncertainty justifying the Stock Exchange to put a halt on the market while the panel investigated their import ance.

Meanwhile, advertisements challenging the nation to "collectively pitch in" and save Air NZ have triggered an outpouring of support for the airline.

Breakfast cereal maker Dick Hubbard, who shelled out $26,000 for the ads in the country's major newspapers yesterday, said he has been flabbergasted by the response.

"Absolutely overwhelming. Our phone, fax and e-mail just went non-stop."

In the advertisements, Mr Hubbard appealed to the nation to "stand united, to pledge our commitment to Air NZ" by choosing to fly the airline along with donating air points back to the company.

Responses came from a wide cross section of people and companies who pledged support and money, he said. They included Air NZ staff and the airline's chief executive, Gary Toomey.

An open letter organised by airline staff is scheduled to appear in the country's newspapers today calling for New Zealanders to show their support.

28th Sep 2001, 12:35


Govt poised to re-take control of Air NZ - reports
28 September 2001

Air New Zealand was in danger of financial collapse and the Government was poised to retake control, according to reports in major newspapers today.
The Government is expected to take a massive equity stake, either directly or by underwriting an issue of new shares to existing shareholders, The Dominion reported.

It said that Air New Zealand had defaulted on a $70 million loan to the ANZ Bank on Thursday.

"As a result of the default, other banks which form part of a syndicate with ANZ called in their secured loans, amounting to about $900 million," it reported.

The next day, the board demanded that major shareholders Singapore Airlines and Brierley Investments commit immediately to an $850 million rescue package, which included $300 million in cash from them, or Air New Zealand would be put into statutory management.

The Dominion quoting unnamed sources close to the negotiations saying Singapore and Brierley told the board they were not prepared to commit to the rescue plan before completing their own due diligence. However, the collapse of the Air New Zealand share price in recent weeks meant the rescue plan no longer raised enough money.

"It is understood that the Government was advised that a new plan needed to be finalised quickly and that Air New Zealand did not have the luxury of allowing up to six weeks for key shareholders to conduct due diligence."

Yesterday, Brierley chief executive Greg Terry said things had changed dramatically from two weeks ago when the rescue package was announced.

"The situation two weeks ago and the situation today are two different worlds," he said after Brierley announced it lost $US119.60 million ($NZ299 million) in the year ending June 30 due to Air NZ's writedown of its collapsed Australian subsidiary, Ansett.

"Air NZ is no longer an airline seeking government support. It is now one of every airline in the world seeking government support.

"It is obviously no longer the case that $300 million in equity is enough."

Air New Zealand had to negotiate a new arrangement, and talks between it and ANZ were under way when the loan facility fell due.

The Dominion quoted banking sources saying syndicate members would have agreed not to demand immediate payment of loans, subject to a rescue plan being finalised, while at the same time reserving the right to demand repayment at any time.

The chairman of Melbourne-based ANZ Group, Charles Goode, resigned from the Air New Zealand board the same day without explanation. He had represented Singapore Airlines on the board. He refused to comment when asked why he resigned.

Air New Zealand chief executive Gary Toomey, also an ANZ Bank director, has taken leave of absence from the ANZ Group board.

Government negotiator Rob Cameron supported ANZ Bank continuing to offer Air New Zealand a lending facility, sources said.

An industry analyst said the Government could end up owning between 31 per cent and 83 per cent of Air New Zealand. This depended on shareholder participation in a one-for-three rights issue at 20 cents a share to raise $450 million and the Government injecting a further $550 million, previously earmarked as a loan.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand's 9000 staff in an open letter today, are calling on the public to support the airline and help keep it flying.

The New Zealand Herald said the company had failed to win a final commitment from major shareholders to the airline's $NZ850 million rescue plan.

The airline's board was forced to adjourn another marathon meeting after failing to secure the firm support of either Singapore Airlines and Brierley Investments.

In a brief statement Air New Zealand said its board had had a "useful" day's talks but would reconvene early next week.

"There are matters that require further consideration by the major shareholders and the New Zealand Government before we are able to complete the business on our agenda," said acting chairman Jim Farmer.

Under the recapitalisation plan, both Singapore Airlines and Brierley were to each buy another $NZ150 million worth of new Air New Zealand shares at NZ67c a piece.

The New Zealand Government, which under the current plan would make available to Air New Zealand debt facilities worth $NZ550 million, is considering taking an equity stake in the airline, given it is already overloaded with debt.

Analysts suggested the NZ Government might seek to negotiate with a statutory manager to take control of its flag carrier, the Herald reported.

If Air New Zealand collapsed, it would leave the country without a domestic or an international airline after Qantas New Zealand collapsed in April.

There were also suggestions Qantas might seek to re-engineer an alliance with Air New Zealand.

"It would be a value-added move for Qantas if they could get a stake in Air New Zealand," said Macquarie Equities' transport analyst, Ian Myles.

"However, there are a lot of factors in play."

But most suggested competition regulators would never allow Qantas to buy into Air New Zealand after the demise of Ansett.

The Flying Kangaroo already stood to dominate the Australia aviation market and, should it take Air New Zealand under its wing, would hold a near-monopoly in New Zealand and on trans-Tasman routes.