ANA mounts rescue bid for budget rival

ANA mounts rescue bid for budget rival

All Nippon Airways is to take a stake in bankrupt rival Skymark Airlines as part of a rescue bid.

The deal will see ANA acquire a shareholding of up to 19.9% in the budget carrier with Japanese investment fund Integral taking 50.1%.

The total investment by the two companies and other stakeholders is expected to reach 18 billion yen ($150 million), according to the Financial Times.

Skymark was the first major budget carrier to challenge the duopoly in Japan held by Japan Airlines and ANA when it was established in 1998.

But the country’s third-largest carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in January, with more than $600 million of debts.

The deal would give ANA access to 36 take off and landing slots that Skymark holds at Tokyo’s Haneda airport — the only slots belonging to a budget carrier not linked to the country’s two big airlines.

Airbus cancelled an order from Skymark for six A380 superjumbos last summer due to concerns over its ability to pay, and demanded a $700 million cancellation fee.

Toyoyuki Nagamine, ANA’s senior vice-president, said ANA would “support future negotiations” with Airbus and lease companies, the FT reported.

Skymark chairman Takashi Ide said: “We can maintain our position as the ‘third force’. We decided ANA’s proposal was the best one.”

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