Published on February 25th, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer0
Will Stobart takeover Flybe?
The Flybe share price jumped by 36.2% on Thursday following rumours that the Stobart Group were considering a takeover of the airline. Based on the increased share price, the market capitalisation was still only £101.83m and dropped back 6% in Friday trading. In response to the rumours, the Stobart Group released a statement to the London Stock Exchange saying “The Board of Stobart Group notes the movement in the share price of Flybe and press speculation as to a potential takeover of Flybe Group Plc by Stobart Group.
Stobart Group and Flybe have a range of shared interests arising from Stobart Group’s ownership of London Southend Airport and its aircraft leasing company and the growing franchise arrangements between the two groups’ airlines. As previously disclosed in October 2017, we have been reviewing alternative structures for our airline and leasing business that can play an important part in the consolidation of the regional airline sector.
A number of potential structures have been considered including taking a non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100% of Flybe likely to be in cash. It is not possible to say, at this stage, whether a transaction will take place, whether a firm proposal will be made or, if it is, the form a transaction to combine the airlines might take. A further announcement will be made in due course”.
FlyBe also released a statement confirming no offer had been received from Stobart and advised its shareholders to take no action.
“Flybe plc notes the recent media speculation and subsequent announcement made by Stobart Group Limited. Flybe confirms that it has not received any approach from Stobart Group regarding a possible offer by Stobart Group for Flybe.
Flybe shareholders are strongly advised to take no action at this stage. There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made. Further announcements will be made in due course as appropriate.”
In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, Stobart Group must, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 22nd March 2018, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Flybe in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline can be extended by the Board of Flybe with the consent of the Takeover Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code and will cease to apply in circumstances set out in Rule 2.6(b) of the Code (a firm intention to make an offer for Flybe in accordance with Rule 2.7 being announced by another offeror prior to that deadline).
As a consequence of the announcement, an offer period has now commenced in respect of Flybe in accordance with the rules of the Code and the attention of shareholders is drawn to the disclosure requirements of Rule 8 of the Code.
Stobart Receive New ATR42-600
In other news, Stobart Air received delivery of its new ATR 42-600 EI-GEV as part of an investment of up to €13.8m. It is leased from Nordic Aviation Capital. The addition of the new aircraft will release an ATR 72 to increase capacity on Dublin-Kerry route by up to 50%. More than 33,000 passengers used the service to Donegal in 2017, while 51,000 flew between Kerry and Dublin in the same period. These numbers are expected to grow significantly to a combined total of nearly 100,000 passengers over the duration of the new PSO contract which runs to 31st January 2022.