Airtours bid `close to collapse'
Tuesday 07 September 1999
The concessions to be offered by Airtours are expected to include guaranteed places for independents on the enlarged group's chartered airlines and the disposal of several First Choice business, including Unijet, the airline operator First Choice bought for pounds 110m last July.
But analysts say the Commission will accept nothing less than the creation of a fourth UK operator to resolve competition issues. This would mean Airtours selling such a large chunk of the assets it hopes to acquire, perhaps including First Choice's main airline arm, Air 2000, that the takeover would become economically unfeasible. One said: "If that is what Airtours needs to do to placate the Commission, it torpedoes the economics of the acquisition." First Choice shareholders, who earlier this year rejected an approach from Kuoni, the Swiss firm, would be unlikely to accept such a deal.
It is understood Airtours has already offered to sell two First Choice businesses: Viking Aviation, the aircraft-seat broking arm of Unijet, and Eclipse, which sells holidays over the phone. But the Commission is said to have requested further disposals.
A sale of Unijet would shave pounds 10m to pounds 15m off the pounds 35m of cost-savings Airtours hoped to generate from its link-up with First Choice. One analyst also raised doubts about selling Unijet as a separate unit, as it has been integrated with Air 2000 by First Choice.
Tim Byrne, Airtours' finance director refused to comment yesterday on the possible terms of its proposed bid, but said if an agreement was reached with the Commission, the company would then have 21 days to make a second offer to First Choice.
Meanwhile, First Choice yesterday named Peter Long, the company's managing director, as its new chief executive. The restructuring also includes the appointment of Dermot Blastland to the board as managing director of UK and Ireland tour operations and the planned shifting of chairman Ian Clubb to a non-executive role.
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...