Qantas CEO, Geoff Dixon, said today Qantas believed the level
of foreign shareholding in the company was below the regulatory requirement
Mr Dixon said Qantas had experienced massive turnover in its shares during and after the close of the takeover bid by Airline Partners Australia, making reconciliation of its shareholding, despite extensive monitoring, extremely difficult.
"A reconciliation was commenced on 04-May-07 and we were advised yesterday by Link Market Services, our share registry, that the foreign shareholding at that date was just below 50%.
"However, some 55% of Qantas shares have traded since 4 May and Link Market Services believes this figure may already be out of date," Mr Dixon said.
Mr Dixon said market intelligence indicated the selling since 4 May had been by investors associated with foreign hedge funds and substantial buying has been by Australian interests.
"Although turnover in Qantas shares remains high, and we have commenced another reconciliation, we believe our current register is in compliance with the Qantas Sale Act."
Mr Dixon said Qantas was working with lawyers and other advisers to investigate alternative methods of monitoring foreign shareholding in line with the requirements of the Qantas Sale Act.
"The system we have used since the privatisation of Qantas has served us exceedingly well.
"However, this system does come under pressure if market participants do not comply with their obligations regarding timely disclosure of relevant interests, which has been the experience since the APA bid was announced."