We’ve made mistakes, says Bertolt Flick.
RIGA - Baltijas aviacijas sistemas, the minority shareholder in Latvia’s national airline airBaltic, is preparing to attract partners, and changes to the airline’s shareholder structure cannot be ruled out, said airBaltic chief Bertolt Flick in an interview with the business daily Dienas bizness, reports Nozare.lv. Flick believes that it would be good for the airline, in both a financial sense and in terms of its reputation, if it were registered on the stock market, where there is strict supervision and important deals are publicized.
“I would admit one fundamental mistake - if you carry out such a major deal, the public must be informed. That should have been done immediately after the deal [airBaltic’s 13 million euro sale of its brand to Baltijas aviacijas sistemas] was made in November last year. And even worse - I very much regret that we left the minister and members of the council in an uncomfortable position. That, of course, is not good,” admitted Flick.
The airline chief thinks that in the long term airBaltic will become too large to be owned by just two shareholders. He also stressed that he was not aware of what the state would do with its shares; however, the airline would continue to grow in the long term, and a stock market listing would provide new access to financial markets.
There is particularly great interest from other airlines in the airBaltic shares belonging to Baltijas aviacijas sistemas, but no offers have been seen as yet which would offer added value to the airline.
Flick indicated that he was interested in fully concentrating on the business development of the airline, and that it was therefore worth coming to agreement now with a partner who had access to the financial markets.
The airline chief also stressed that the airBaltic brand had been sold in order to balance the airline’s negative capital at the time, which was one of the most difficult periods in aviation history. However, Flick indicated that even without the sale of the brand, the company would have made a profit of around 4 million lats (5.7 million euros) last year.
Commenting on the extremely slow reversal of the brand acquisition deal, the airBaltic president claimed that it was not possible to return the airline’s brand immediately, as the capital received by the airline through the deal was necessary to ensure financial backing for the acquisition of several new aircraft, for which certain minimum financial figures were required.
Baltijas aviacijas sistemas is owned by Flick.