Business / Corporate

Skymark said to keep Haneda slots in rescue deal with ANA

by Kiyotaka Matsuda

Bloomberg

Skymark Airlines Inc., the Japanese carrier that filed for bankruptcy protection, will keep its landing slots at Tokyo’s Haneda airport as part of a rescue deal it struck with ANA Holdings Inc., people familiar with the matter said.

ANA will invest in Skymark as part of the carrier’s revival plan, taking a stake of less than 20 percent, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public yet. A deal between the two companies is in its final stages of negotiations, the people said.

“If it’s as reported, ANA won’t be gaining so much for itself as its investment is less than 20 percent,” Ryota Himeno, a senior analyst at Barclays PLC in Tokyo, said by telephone. “It’s mostly a defensive move, not to give Skymark’s Haneda slots to a rival airline company.”

ANA doesn’t have an official release regarding the negotiations with Skymark, a company spokeswoman said.

Private-equity firm Integral Corp. is assisting Skymark’s turnaround, and the airline has been seeking investment from other carriers as well. Crucial to the revival plan are Skymark’s 36 takeoff and landing slots at the centrally located Haneda — an asset worth about ¥72 billion in annual revenue, according to Hiroshi Hasegawa, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo.

Skymark filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 28 and has liabilities of about ¥300 billion ($2.5 billion), according to Nobuo Sayama, a partner at Integral. The company is due to present a recovery plan by the end of May, and has said it expects to post an operating profit by July.

Skymark is still negotiating with Airbus Group NV over penalties for a canceled order for six A380 superjumbo planes that overextended the airline and was key in pushing it into bankruptcy. Airbus has filed a demand for $700 million in compensation for the planes.