Skymark exits bankruptcy, predicts first profit in three years


Skymark Airlines Inc. exited bankruptcy administration and forecast its first operating profit in three years after reducing its fleet, cutting routes and securing new funding.

The carrier expects to report ¥1.5 billion ($13 million) in operating profit and sales of ¥70 billion for the year ending March 31, Skymark said in a statement Monday.

Skymark also said it’s targeting an “early relisting” of its shares after filing for bankruptcy protection last year. Private equity firm Integral Corp. took a 50.1 percent stake in the company as part of its turnaround, while ANA Holdings Inc. owns 16.5 percent and is supporting the airline in areas including aircraft maintenance and code-sharing.

“We wanted to make a plan that could withstand long-term changes in our operating environment,” Masahiko Ichie, president of Skymark, told reporters in Tokyo on Monday.

For the year starting April 1, 2018, the airline is forecasting operating profit of more than ¥7 billion and sales exceeding ¥80 billion.

Development Bank of Japan Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. own the remaining shares in Skymark.

The carrier began service in 1998 after the government deregulated the domestic market to boost competition. Since then, other airlines including AirDo Co. and Star Flyer Inc. have entered the market.

Skymark filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2015 with liabilities of about ¥300 billion after running short of cash to pay for Airbus Group SE A380 superjumbos it had ordered.

“Things were going very well when Skymark ordered Airbus A380s,” Ichie said. “Then the economy changed, exchange rates moved and fuel prices went up.”