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Air NZ recapitalisation package agreed

4 October, 2001 Media Statement

Air NZ recapitalisation package agreed


“The government will invest up to $885 million in two stages to secure the future viability of Air New Zealand,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

“It is important to the economy in general, and to the tourism industry in particular, that the airline continue to function as a national flag carrier promoting the New Zealand brand abroad,” he said.

The first tranche – to be paid as early as possible, and by 19 October at the latest – would be for $300 million.

“This will be made in the form of a loan in the first instance for legal reasons and because that is the way the money can be released soonest. Subject to shareholder approval and other conditions, the amount will later be repaid and replaced by convertible preference shares. The share price paid for these shares will be up to 24c.

“A second tranche – for up to $585 million – will be taken out as ordinary shares. The prices for those shares will be determined after due diligence at a value fair to both the taxpayer and Air New Zealand shareholders.

“In the event that the price for the ordinary shares in the second tranche is below 24c, that lower price will be the price paid for the convertible preference shares,” Dr Cullen said.

“We have had to wait a frustratingly long time to reach this stage. I hope events will now be able to move much more swiftly,” he said.

The package was drawn up after agreement was reached with the Voluntary Administrators of Ansett on Wednesday to settle amounts due under a letter of comfort provided to Ansett by the Air New Zealand Board.

“The effect of the Ansett deal was to give us a much, much clearer picture of Air New Zealand’s potential liabilities and therefore a much firmer basis on which to develop a recapitalisation strategy,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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