Prime Minister François Legault is ready to help Quebec investors get the hang of Air Canada to buy Transat. But so far, none have come out publicly.
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“There is no question that the government is alone in an adventure to operate an airline, that is certain,” said Mr. Legault yesterday during a press conference.
“In order for us to be able to support, whether it is Investissement Québec or the Caisse de dépôt, another Quebec buyer, there must first be a serious buyer,” he added.
Chiara says no
Vincent Chiara’s Group Mach, which offered to acquire Transat for $ 14 per share, last year, told the Newspaper that he did not intend to reopen the file. For the businessman, there are currently too many unknowns to dive into.
“The unknown of the market because of the pandemic – we do not know when it will return -, the unknown of the situation [financière] current of [Transat], the unknown whether the government will intervene to help the industry, “enumerated Mr. Chiara.
The big boss of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, who showed interest in Transat on a personal basis last year, remained discreet yesterday.
The Fonds FTQ is listening
At the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, we are ready to study a possible proposal that would compete with that of Air Canada.
“The Fund is ready to analyze any offer that meets its objectives in terms of maintaining the head office and jobs in Quebec,” said yesterday a spokesperson for the institution, Patrick McQuilken.
This weekend, Air Canada and Transat announced that they had agreed to a transaction revised to $ 5 per share, or $ 190 million in total. That’s almost four times less than the $ 18 per share in the deal reached last year, or $ 720 million in all.
Yesterday, the stock surged to reflect the new deal. The stock gained 26% to close at $ 4.83. Prior to the weekend’s announcement, many investors feared Air Canada would drop the deal.
Being short of cash because of the crisis, Transat needed Air Canada’s consent to borrow $ 250 million. It was this situation that allowed the country’s largest airline to renegotiate the deal.
If Transat had refused to revive the discussions, Air Canada could have failed to respond to the concerns of government authorities in matters of competition, which could have derailed the transaction.
“The authorities can ask for a number of adjustments or concessions and the motivation for these concessions depends on the interest of seeing the transaction succeed. This interest is not the same with a price of $ 18 in the market that we know as a price of $ 5, ”explained a spokesperson for Transat, Christophe Hennebelle.
“What is unfortunate in this story is that Air Canada is in a position of strength,” said Vincent Chiara. […] When the situation is restored, they will have eliminated a competitor, we will have lost a head office in Quebec […] and, of course, consumers will pay more for travel. ”
– With Clara Loiseau