11/05/2004 - 22:00

Panel given Skywest referral

11/05/2004 - 22:00


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Panel given Skywest referral

SKYWEST’S board has asked the Takeovers Panel to adjudicate as to whether takeover bidder CaptiveVision Capital should be forced to clarify details within its bidder statement.

The CaptiveVision bidder statement for an off-market takeover bid of the Western Australian regional airline was due to be released on May 12.

However, if the Takeover Panel rules that it has to clarify some of the points in its statement then that date could be pushed back.

Skywest is also working to get its own, long-awaited prospectus out to the market.

The company has been promising to go public for several months, however, its prospectus has yet to materialise.

Indeed, the delay in releasing a prospectus is one of the reasons CaptiveVision says, in its bidder statement, that led it to make the off-market takeover bid.

Another was

The Singaporean company is offering 20 cents a share for all of the Skywest shares it does not already hold that is scheduled to close on June 29. The offer values Skywest at about $11.2 million.

CaptiveVision is the airline’s largest shareholder with about 19.6 per cent.

It has hired Marshall Michael Corporate Consultants as Australian corporate adviser to the bid.

Skywest chairman Pat Ryan said the prospectus could be expected either later this month or in early June.

Ideally, he said, he would like to see both the Skywest prospectus and the CaptiveVision takeover bid documents in the market at the same time so the company’s shareholders can make up their mind over which is the better offer.

Whether the Takeovers Panel forces a delay on the release of the CaptiveVision bidders statement is unclear.

However, given the closing date of the CaptiveVision offer and the expected launch window for the Skywest prospectus, it appears likely that Mr Ryan will get his wish.

According to its bidder statement, CaptiveVision says it will continue the business of Skywest, preserve the operational management of the airline, conduct a review of the business and "support and enhance the aviation industry of Western Australia".

It also says it will preserve the workforce and has no plans to change any of the airlines’ or its contractors’ working conditions.

The bidders statement says CaptiveVision is concerned about the fact that the Skywest float documents failed to appear in March or April, despite statements saying this would occur and that the airline has so many securities on issue that, if they were converted to shares, would dilute shareholder ownership.

CaptiveVision became involved with Skywest through a $750,000 convertible notes issue.

It has gradually built up its stake to its present holding.

Many of Skywest’s largest shareholders from its early days of being rescued from the wreckage of Ansett such as Miles Cattle have reduced their stakes.

Mr Cattle said he had sold out of the airline completely after its board dumped then CEO Bill Meeke.


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