LAN Airlines will not issue interim dividends in 2012 for the first time since 2003, according to a report by Diario Financiero, as the carrier purses a more conservative financial strategy following the loss of its investment grade credit rating after the merger with TAM. The conservative strategy will also reportedly help absorb TAM's debt into the combined LATAM Airlines Group and help fund expansion plans.
LAN will not issue 2012 interim dividends
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Qatar Airways buys 10% of oneworld's LATAM, to add to its 15% in IAG
Enter Qatar Airways. As Etihad Airways looks to bed down its investments in other airlines, Qatar is gradually expanding its airline investment portfolio. Qatar's 15% stake in IAG is now being followed with a 10% stake in LATAM for USD613 million – nearly 1.5 times Qatar's net profit of USD446 million, disclosed (for the first time) on the day prior to the LATAM equity announcement. It is a safe investment; LATAM group has a strong market position and its share price has remained strong even in the face of a brutal downturn in Latin American economies.
Qatar gives LATAM needed cash and a distant shareholder. Latin America is the smallest market by far for Gulf airlines, but while currently in the economic doldrums, has a longer term potential for growth. It is also a key future market for US airlines, albeit very small on the Gulf airlines' networks. Qatar is spending nearly EUR2.5 billion on equity investments, still smaller than Etihad's but illustrating a willingness to acquire airline assets, for investment and strategic reasons. In this case the immediate strategic purpose for Qatar is less apparent.
Star Alliance's privately owned Avianca is also considering a strategic shareholder; that would mean five of Latin America's eight largest airline groups could have an airline investor from outside the region.
LCCs in Latin America: Peru’s rise as an economic star could draw attention from potential operators
As Latin America attempts to climb out of a two year long recession, Peru has emerged as a bright spot in the region – based on air passenger growth and the country’s economic performance. For the seven months ending Jul-2016 Peru recorded 9% passenger growth to 11.2 million, driven by growth of 10.2% in the country’s domestic market.
Peru’s air passenger growth continues to remain promising, as the country’s largest airline – LATAM Airlines Peru – calculates that the country’s trips per capita are slightly below the still-emerging markets of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, whose passenger growth potential should remain robust once the country’s economy begins to fully recover.
Periodically speculation arises over the potential opportunity for a low cost airline to break into Peru’s market. The country’s growth prospects certainly warrant examination of stimulative opportunities in Peru, but so far the country lacks a true low cost airline.