February 3, 2019 / 9:10 PM / 6 months ago

Stobart's ex-CEO floats possible alternative offer for Flybe

(Reuters) - British airline Flybe, which is being bought by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, said on Sunday it had been approached by Stobart’s ex CEO Andrew Tinkler about a possible alternative financing proposal.

FILE PHOTO: A Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 airplane taxis at City Airport in London, Britain, September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

However, the airline said the consortium’s offer remained the best option.

Tinkler’s approach to Flybe, which was made on Friday, was first reported on Sunday by City AM and the Financial Times.

Flybe confirmed to Reuters in an emailed statement that its advisers had held talks with Tinkler’s advisers about his preliminary proposal for a capital injection and other funding, but no formal proposal was made and Flybe’s board viewed the suggested plan as inadequate.

Flybe said it continued to work with Connect Airways - the consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital - on the sale of its operating businesses, and regarded the deal with Connect Airways as the “only viable option” that would provide the security needed by the business.

“The board of Flybe Group plc notes the recent media speculation and confirms that, on 1 February 2019, Flybe received a very preliminary, short and highly conditional outline contingency proposal from Mr Tinkler which envisages a capital injection and replacement of the funding provided by Connect Airways Ltd,” Flybe said.

“The board does not consider that the preliminary proposal offers the certainty required to secure the future of Flybe.”

Flybe said on Jan. 15 that it had reached an agreement to sell its main trading company, Flybe Limited and the digital company Flybe.com, for 2.8 million pounds ($3.66 million) to Connect Airways.

Last Wednesday, Flybe dismissed a call from its largest shareholder Hosking Partners to oust Chairman Simon Laffin and investigate the British regional airline’s cut-price sale to the consortium.

Tinkler bought a stake of just over 12 percent in Flybe in January.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton

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