Silverjet shares suspended following investment delay

(DENNIS B MALLARI)

Silverjet, the only remaining business-class-only airline, announced yesterday an immediate suspension in the trading of its ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange's AIM (Alternate Investment Market), following delay in investments.

The move points to fears that UK's loss-making carrier, which lost about 90 per cent of its market value, could become the latest one to give into escalating fuel prices and a deteriorating credit market. Silverjet, which said earlier this month it is seeking a $5 million fund injection from UAE-based development fund Viceroy Holdings has not yet received part of the pledged investment, it said yesterday.

Silverjet said in an announcement to the London Stock Exchange that it had requested $5m from a loan facility negotiated with Viceroy Holdings but the carrier "has yet to receive the full drawdown". "Silverjet's working capital reserves are limited and advances under the loan facility are required as a matter of urgency," it added. The carrier, which operates flights from London to Dubai and New York, received a pledge earlier this month for $100m in loans and cash from Viceroy Holdings. And before that, Silverjet had raised nearly $142m through an initial share sale.

Meanwhile, the British carrier has been scouting for investors. Silverjet Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Hunt told Emirates Business earlier this month three Middle East companies are in talks with the airline for a complete takeover.

"We have had a number of talks with a number of investors in the Middle East and Asia for a potential takeover. Of this, three Middle East companies have approached us for a complete takeover," Hunt said, without giving any names.

"Silverjet continues discussions with other parties, which have confirmed an interest in investing in the company. In the meantime, Silverjet's services continue as scheduled," he added.

The carrier, which failed to make an operating profit in March, also said on Thursday it has appointed new heads for a few of the company's departments, in a restructuring drive.

 

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