• Kyodo


Leasing firm Orix Corp. may invest in bankrupt Skymark Airlines Inc. as the carrier restructures, sources close to the matter said on Tuesday.

Orix is one of the nation’s biggest nonbank financial companies. Its businesses include aircraft leasing.

It plans to inform Skymark by Thursday of its intention to get involved. That day is the deadline for expressions of support.

Skymark leases all its aircraft. If it becomes a sponsor, Orix, which held a 1.3 percent stake in Skymark as of March 2014, could arrange to lease aircraft to Skymark, the sources said.

Skymark filed for protection from creditors with a Tokyo court on Jan. 28 with liabilities of about ¥71.09 billion.

The troubled carrier announced last week it had registered a net loss in the April-December period.

Skymark posted a group net loss of ¥13.62 billion in the nine months through December, dropping from a profit of ¥230 million in the same period a year earlier.

Its cash and deposits totaled ¥730 million at the end of the period, sharply down from ¥7.07 billion as of last March.

Its cash reserves had dropped to some ¥300 million by the time it filed for court protection on Jan. 28 with liabilities totaling ¥71 billion.

Its debts could be even bigger, depending on how negotiations proceed with plane-maker Airbus S.A.S. on a $700 million penalty for canceling an order for six A380 superjumbos.

Skymark is seeking cooperation that would help it cut costs and operate more efficiently. Fuel and aircraft are both considerations.

Skymark earlier said it wants to continue talks on code-sharing with Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co.

Partnership with Skymark could give the two bigger peers access to its coveted landing rights at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Skymark currently holds 36 landing slots at the country’s main domestic hub.

In a separate move, Japanese investment fund Integral Corp. has offered to support Skymark financially to the tune of ¥9 billion in loans.

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