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Costs crisis forces Flybe to weigh sale plan

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
Flybe, the UK-based airline, is putting itself up for sale weeks after a savage profit warning triggered by currency volatility and higher fuel costs sent its shares plunging.
Sky News has learnt that the Exeter-based carrier, which said last month that it expected to lose €12m this year, will announce to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday that its board has begun exploring a sale to or merger with a rival.
Bankers at Evercore have been brought in to handle the talks about a potential deal.Sources said a combination of Brexit-related uncertainty‎, the weaker pound and soaring fuel costs had led Flybe's directors to conclude that a takeover was likely to be required to preserve its future.The news will be disclosed alongside Flybe's interim results.One potential suitor is likely to be Stobart Group, the owner of Southend Airport, where ‎Flybe is based, bankers said on Tuesday evening.Stobart, which is the focus of a bitter courtroom battle between board members and its former chief executive, abandoned a previous bid ‎earlier this year.Flybe, which is now valued at just €25m by the stock market, remains one of the UK's best-known airline brands, carrying thousands of passengers between second-tier British airports and European destinations.
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