Qantas Chief Executive, James Strong, announced today that the airline had sold a further part of its shareholding in the international data network company, EQUANT NV, incorporated in The Netherlands.
The pre-tax profit on sale of approximately A$57 million will be included in the Qantas first-half results for the financial year to 30 June, 2000.
EQUANT and Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques SC (SITA) are joint venture operators of the world`s largest data communications network.
SITA provides data network services for the majority of the world`s airlines and related distribution companies. EQUANT provides data network services primarily to non air-transport customers. Qantas has been a SITA member and user of its services since 1956.
Qantas previously disposed of approximately 31 per cent of its interest in EQUANT in February 1999.
This disposal of EQUANT shares, at a net price of US$87.72 per share before offering expenses, represented a further 23 per cent of the Qantas total interest in EQUANT. This resulted from participation in a public offering of shares on the New York Stock Exchange and the Paris Bourse on Friday, 3 December.
Following this offering, Qantas continues to hold 46 per cent of its original interest in the EQUANT shares.
Existing share sale restrictions prevent Qantas from selling any further EQUANT shares prior to July 2000 unless a further public offering occurs. In the event of a further public offering, Qantas will assess the merits of further sales of its shareholding based on conditions at that time.