• Kyodo

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Skynet Asia Airways has decided to boost its capital by up to 300 million yen by the end of this month, of which 50 million yen will come from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. through a new share issue, airline officials said Wednesday.

A Mitsui Sumitomo spokesman said the nonlife insurer has agreed to accept the new shares, saying, “We decided through a comprehensive assessment after receiving a request.”

The capital boost, which includes investments from individuals, is part of a previously announced plan by the Miyazaki-based airline to raise about 3 billion yen by the 2004 business year to beef up its financial base, according to the airline officials.

The number of individual investors is increasing through the efforts of a group of supporting shareholders, which is soliciting investments on a small-lot basis of 50,000 yen.

Late last year, business groups and other local concerns in Miyazaki Prefecture established an association to support Skynet Asia Airways.

Skynet Asia President Shoji Shimoda announced a five-year business plan at the first meeting of the shareholder group late last year. Under the plan, the number of aircraft would be raised to four from the current two, with an eye to a final goal of six.

The plan also envisions opening new routes between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and various airports in Kyushu.

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