Air NZ says 'goodbye Qantas, hello Air China
Wednesday, 27 June 2007: Following the failure of the Qantas-Air New Zealand ‘Tasman Networks Agreement’ to gain regulatory approval, Qantas has offloaded its 4.2% stake in the New Zealand carrier acquired during the strategic partnership negotiations.
Qantas has pocketed a tidy 21% increase in the value of the stake since 2002, with most of the gains coming in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Qantas CFO, Peter Gregg, this week offloaded 200,000 Qantas shares at AUD5.77 a piece – well above the offer price of the failed private equity bid.
Qantas shares reached as high as AUD5.83 in the aftermath of the bid, but are currently trading below AUD5.60, possibly as investors awaken to the massive capacity increases poised to enter the Australian domestic market over the next 18 months. There is clearly some profit-taking going on.
Air New Zealand has wasted no time in finding a new partner, launching a codeshare agreement with future Star Alliance member, Air China, on routes to/from China and New Zealand AND Australia, as well as select trans-Tasman services. It is a partnership with significant upside potential, particularly as Air New Zealand is keen to explore more services via China to Europe (including an extension of its own successful Shanghai service).