Silverjet boss reluctant to sell airline

Silverjet CEO Lawrence Hunt has admitted he is reluctant to sell the all-business class airline.


Silverjet CEO Lawrence Hunt has admitted he is reluctant to sell the all-business class airline.

When speaking to Aviation Business, Hunt said any bid for the publicly listed airline cannot be rejected outright under London Stock Exchange rules.

But the British businessman added: "Now is the wrong time to sell, but if someone puts an offer on the table we have to consider it".

In recent weeks, an undisclosed number of bidders have approached Silverjet's board about launching possible takeover bids. But Hunt insists talks are at a preliminary stage, with no offers on the table.

"All I can say is we are in discussions that may or may not lead to a takeover," Hunt said.

Last month, Silverjet announced securing a US$25 million cash injection from investment fund Viceroy Holdings. An option for a further $75 million was also agreed.

In a company statement, Hunt said: "Silverjet has now entered into a binding conditional agreement and secured the commitment of a high quality, long-term strategic investor. Viceroy is committed to the development and expansion of Silverjet, and proposes to inject further capital to develop the Silverjet proposition.

"This investment means that Silverjet is now well placed, both financially and strategically, to exploit the opportunities which exist in the airline and all business class market - a market which we now dominate."

The capital will finance new route launches to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Johannesburg. Silverjet's management also plans to add Johannesburg and Hong Kong to the network.

Elsewhere, the airline's board plan to invest the capital in three new planes. The aircraft, which are on order, will increase Silverjet's fleet to six.

Last year, the airline's stock market value plummeted after Mike Stoddart, a financial analyst from Daniel Stewart Securities, said Silverjet's shares were worthless.

But Silverjet's management hit back, saying the airline was attracting healthy passenger loads and operating on a sound financial footing.

Most Popular