• Kyodo


An executive of the Development Bank of Japan is expected to be named president of Skymark Airlines Inc. in a restructuring plan the bankrupt carrier was to submit to a court later Friday, sources said.

Masahiko Ichie, director and managing executive officer of the state-backed DBJ, will likely assume the presidency after the Tokyo District Court and creditors accept Skymark’s revamp plan, which includes sponsorship deals.

Ichie is judged to be qualified for the position because he is well-versed in the aviation industry and has extensive experience in supporting corporate rehabilitation proceedings, such as that of supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc., the sources said.

Nobuo Sayama, the head of investment fund Integral Corp., is expected to become the airline’s chairman, they said.

Skymark has agreed that ANA Holdings Inc., parent of All Nippon Airways Co., the nation’s biggest carrier, would pick the president and Integral would appoint the chairman to replace respective incumbents Masakazu Arimori and Takashi Ide.

The new management team will oversee Skymark’s restructuring plan.

The DBJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. were close to a deal to purchase a combined 33.4 percent stake in Skymark, while Integral and ANA have agreed to hold 50.1 percent and 16.5 percent stakes in the airline, the sources said earlier.

Skymark has said it will implement a 100 percent capital reduction and receive ¥18 billion in new capital.

The reform plan needs to be approved at a creditors’ meeting in July, but major creditors Intrepid Aviation and Airbus SAS have shown reluctance to accept the plan and are likely to call for its revision, according to the sources.

Intrepid Aviation, a U.S. aircraft leasing company, and France’s Airbus hold a combined 60 percent of Skymark’s total debt of ¥320 billion.

The European aircraft manufacturer is set to call on Skymark to include greater use of its planes in the revamp scheme. The failed carrier is also in talks with Airbus on a penalty charge of around $700 million that the plane-maker has demanded in relation to the termination of an order for six A380 superjumbos.

Skymark operated Airbus A330 jets leased from Intrepid Aviation. The third-largest Japanese carrier has said it plans to reduce its use of that midsize aircraft model and make more use of smaller Boeing 737 planes to improve fleet efficiency.

Intrepid Aviation has said it will oppose the carrier’s plan to have ANA take part in the restructuring, the sources said.

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota told a news conference earlier Friday that the government will monitor the progress of negotiations between Skymark and the two creditors.

Skymark filed for court protection in January, after failing to overcome competition from rising low-cost carriers such as Peach Aviation Ltd. and Jetstar Japan Co.

The carrier was scheduled to hold a news conference later Friday.

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