Flyer points remain
Buy-up won’t affect programs
THE consortium proposing to buy Qantas Airways Ltd for $11.1 billion says the transaction will have no effect on the airline’s frequent flyer program.
The Airline Partners Australia (APA) group, led by Macquarie Bank Ltd and US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, also repeated that it had no plans to break up Qantas.
Since the takeover — which has been recommended by the Qantas board — was announced in mid-December there has been speculation that the program could be sold off to new managers for about $2 billion.
That could mean unused points might be revalued, disadvantaging current frequent flyers.
APA said in a letter to Qantas shareholders that its deal would have no effect on the program and highlighted its support for the airline’s investment program.
‘‘Contrary to recent comments by the media, this transaction will have no impact on the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program,’’ APA said.
‘‘Our plans for Qantas include supporting a $10 billion capital investment program over the next five years, including the acquisition of more than 70 new planes, securing a 40 per cent increase in airline capacity, and ensuring improved customer service.’’
It stressed that its plan ‘does not involve a breakup of the airline, cuts to regional services or the movement of maintenance operations offshore’.
APA is offering shareholders $5.60 per Qantas share, valuing the carrier at $11.1 billion.
Qantas shares were trading at $5.22 yesterday.
In a letter to shareholders yesterday, Qantas chairman Margaret Jackson said the airline had reviewed alternatives to the APA offer and concluded that it was the best available to maximise shareholder value.
‘‘Your directors believe the proposal provides an attractive premium and an outstanding opportunity for you to realise signific a n t v a l u e f o r y o u r shares,’’ she wrote.
APA includes Australian investment firms Allco Equity Partners and Allco Finance Group, as well as Canadian buyout group Onex.
Shareholders will receive the bidder’s and target’s statements in February.