March 27 Colombian airline Avianca
countersued its No. 2 shareholder on Monday, escalating a battle
over a plan by top shareholder Synergy Group Corp to forge an
alliance with United Continental Holdings Inc.
Avianca's motion seeks to dismiss claims in a lawsuit filed
by Kingsland Ltd earlier this month and opposes Kingsland’s
motion for an injunction to stop the United negotiations.
"Avianca has at all times performed its role under the
parties’ shareholder agreement, while Kingsland has explicitly
breached its obligations," a statement issued by the company
said. "Avianca points out that Kingsland’s legal maneuvers are a
heavy-handed attempt to obtain greater rights in the courtroom
than it previously negotiated for and agreed to in the parties’
The countersuit by Avianca asks the court for an order
preventing Kingsland from any further dissemination of the
company’s "confidential information, requiring Kingsland to
comply with the dispute resolution section of the parties’
shareholder agreement, and requiring Kingsland’s representatives
to cease interfering with the shareholder agreement."
Kingsland and Avianca were set to meet in New York State
Supreme Court on Tuesday so a judge could rule on Kingland's
petition for a preliminary injuction. However, a representative
for Kingsland told Reuters the court date had been moved to
Kingsland, which holds about 22 percent of Avianca's voting
shares and 14 percent of total shares, said in the suit it is
seeking "injunctive relief to prevent the cabal of insiders that
controls Avianca ... from proceeding with their unlawful attempt
to ram through the egregiously one-sided United Transaction in
order to divert hundreds of millions of dollars to themselves in
violation of their fiduciary and contractual duties."
Synergy holds 78 percent of Avianca voting shares.
Kingsland did not immediately respond to a request for
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Marguerita Choy)