Easyjet Acquires GB Airways


easyJet announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of GB Airways, excluding its slots at Heathrow Airport, from the Bland Group Limited, for a cash consideration of £103.5 million.

GB Airways is primarily a London Gatwick based point-to-point airline operating to destinations across Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with British Airways. It serves 31 destinations and operates 15 Airbus aircraft (9 A320s and 6 A321s) with an average age of 4.1 years, which are complementary to the easyJet fleet of 107 A319s. In total it operates 39 routes – 28 from Gatwick, 6 from Manchester, 5 from Heathrow.

Based upon its statutory accounts under UK GAAP for the year ended 31 March 2007, GB Airways reported profit before tax of £2.6 million and EBITDAR of £35 million on revenues of £250 million; it carried 2.8 million passengers; had gross assets of £182 million and net assets of £33 million.

The acquisition of GB Airways is consistent with easyJet’s expansion strategy and, importantly, strengthens its customer offering at Gatwick, the airline’s biggest base which has a highly attractive catchment area in London and South East England. The purchase adds valuable take-off and landing slots at Gatwick and the opportunity to accelerate easyJet’s route development. Following the acquisition, easyJet will operate 24% of Gatwick’s slots and will fly approximately 8 million passengers across 62 routes from Gatwick.

By Winter 2008/09, GB Airways will be fully consolidated into the easyJet business model, releasing cost savings. The acquisition will be positive to easyJet’s earnings per share and return on equity in easyJet’s current financial year, before one-off integration costs. easyJet anticipates GB Airways’ seat profitability reaching a similar level to its own at Gatwick in the first full financial year of operation.

My only comment to this press release is that the key part of this acquisition is the Gatwick slots as it appears  in the press release that I bolded.

By Szafi
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