BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Business
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Market Data 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 12:43 GMT
Ansett finds a buyer
Qantas and Ansett planes on the tarmac
Workers blamed the New Zealand government for Ansett's collapse
Bankrupt Australian airline Ansett is set to be bought by two Melbourne millionaires, after the airline's administrator named them as the preferred bidders.

The businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew have offered 3.6bn Australian dollars ($1.85bn) for Ansett, in a deal they say will employ 4,000 of Ansett's 17,000 staff.

The Australian government stepped in to keep Ansett flying after its owner, Air New Zealand, closed the debt-ridden carrier down in September.

The Lew and Fox consortium is in talks with Singapore Airlines to take a stake in Ansett and plans to buy 29 new Airbus A320 planes to improve service on Ansett's routes.

Rival bidder

There were angry scenes and protests against the New Zealand prime minister when Ansett, which is the only airline serving many Australian destinations, was grounded for two weeks in September.

The consortium intends to fly Ansett's main trunk routes and to buy Ansett's terminals and some other assets, said Mark Korda of Andersen, the administrators.

The deal is not yet finalised. "Creditors will have to brought into this, and that will be early next week before any decision can be made," said Australian transport minister John Anderson.

The businesses would be transferred to the consortium at the end of January 2002.

ANstaff, a rival contender put together by the airline's pilots association, said it still hopes to win the right to operate the airline.

Salvaging jobs

The salvaging of at least some jobs has been welcomed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

"This agreement provides the basis for at least 4,000 direct jobs to be saved in Ansett Mark II, with a further 3,000 jobs in regional air services and other Ansett businesses," said ACTU secretary Greg Combet.

The news comes as unemployment in Australia hit a two year high. Government figures showed the joblessness rate reached 7.1% in October.

Mr Fox made his fortune in the trucking business, while Mr Lew is a clothing entrepreneur.

Robert Gottliebson, Australian Financial Review
"Lindsay Fox is one of the largest transport operators in Australia"
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Business
Ansett returns from bankruptcy
17 Sep 01 | Business
Ansett administrator quits
16 Sep 01 | Business
Ansett workers offered some hope
14 Sep 01 | Business
Protests as Australia airline fails
12 Sep 01 | Business
Aussie airline rescue fails
11 Sep 01 | Business
Qantas poised for airline deal
01 May 01 | Business
Airlines clash down under
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories