Vietnam state investment arm SCIC has sought permission from the government to sell an additional stake in its loss-making budget carrier Jetstar Pacific airlines to Qantas Airways, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Thursday.
SCIC has asked the government to allow Australian flag carrier Qantas to raise its stake in the low-cost carrier to a maximum 49% from the current 18%, Tuoi Tre quoted SCIC as saying. The newspaper did not give an estimated value for the additional stake and SCIC officials were not immediately available for comment.
Qantas acquired the 18% stake in Vietnam’s second-largest carrier last April. As of August, Jetstar Pacific has accumulated losses of US$50 million, Tuoi Tre cited a SCIC report to the government as saying.
It attributed the poor performance to high fuel prices earlier this year and foreign exchange fluctuations, noting seat occupancy has averaged above 80%.
SCIC, which has a 75.8% stake in the carrier, said Jetstar Pacific needed US$30-35 million next year to help maintain its services, mainly on domestic routes.
The other stakeholder in Jetstar Pacific is state-run tourism group Saigon Tourist, which has a 6.2% interest.
SCIC, or State Capital Investment Corporation, was created in mid-2005 to take capital ownership of thousands of the country’s state-run enterprises.
Qantas and British Airways revealed on Tuesday they were in talks to form a dual-listed airline, which would be worth almost US$6 billion at current market prices, as airlines around the world look to cut costs and increase efficiency to cope with a global economic downturn.