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Authorities to cut ownership in Thai Airways; Chinese airline shares down

10-Jun-2011

Thailand's Finance Ministry has announced it intends to cut its ownership stake in Thai Airways International from 51.03% to 49.99% and support a bid to end carrier's legal status as a state enterprise. Thai Airways confirmed that a 0.04% stake will be sold to the Crown Property Bureau, but has not said where the other 1% will be sold. Shares in the carrier were 6.2% lower at the end of trading yesterday and

Freeing the carrier of state enterprise status has been a goal of management, as it will reduce political oversight of investment, executive appointments and salary structures and grant it greater freedom in setting strategy.

The carrier has also announced it wants to gain majority control of local LCC, Nok Air, but is being blocked by other shareholders. Thai Airways controls 39% of Nok Air, and believes that majority ownership of the carrier would be mutually beneficial. However, the carrier has resisted involvement by Thai Airways in the carrier's strategic direction.

Nok Air forecast that its earnings will decline from THB600 million last year to around THB190-200 million this year, due to high fuel prices. The fall is expected to come despite an expected surge in revenue, as the carrier's domestic network strategy pushes revenue up by as much as 50% this year.

Chinese airline shares fell heavily yesterday, with China Southern shares down 4.7% and Shandong Airlines shares 4.5% lower.

GoAir and Jet Airways reportedly plan to make a combined order of at least 60 new Airbus aircraft, potentially valued at USD6.5 billion at list prices. Go Airlines will reportedly order at least 50 A320s, valued at around USD4 billion, while Jet Airways will reportedly order around 10 A330s, valued at around USD2.5 billion. The orders are likely to be announced at the Paris Air Show, which starts on 20-Jun-2011. 

Selected Asia Pacific airline share price movements (% change): 09-Jun-2011


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