May 18, 2007

Qantas Airways Chairwoman Margaret Jackson To Step Down; Board Member James Packer To Resign

(RTTNews) - Early Friday, Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. (QUBSF.PK) announced the decision of its chairwoman Margaret Jackson to retire from the company's Board later this year. Board member James Packer would also resign, with effect from the company's Annual General Meeting in late 2007.

Jackson, who served for seven years as Chairwoman, said that she had informed her fellow Board members of her decision at the beginning of a two-day strategy session of the company's board and management yesterday. Jackson will not stand for the re-election to the Board.

According to Jackson, the strategy meeting discussed the company's plans for the next three years, following the failure of a takeover bid by a private equity group Airline Partners Australia or APA.

In early May, Australia's Takeovers Panel rejected APA's A$11.1 billion or US$9 billion cash offer for the nation's biggest airline. According to the Panel, APA failed to win the required 50% acceptance level from the company's shareholders before the expiry of the offer deadline.

The APA consortium, which includes Australian companies Macquarie Bank Ltd (MQBKY.PK, MQBWF.PK), Allco Finance Group Ltd and Allco Equity Partners, US buyout firm Texas Pacific Group and Canada's Onex Corp, said then that it was seeking an urgent review of the Panel's decision.

If APA had won 50% of shareholder acceptances, it would have triggered a two-week extension of the A$5.45 share offer to allow the consortium to reach the minimum 70% it needed to succeed.

Sources said that Jackson, along with Qantas' Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon and other directors, was under pressure to quit the company's board as she supported the bid by APA. However, Dixon has committed to stay as the company's Chief Executive Officer until at least July 2009. The Board has endorsed the leadership of Dixon and the senior management team has agreed to continue with the company, Jackson stated.

Jackson, who served on the company's Board for 15 years, also said that the company would conduct an extensive review of its capital management strategies over the next few months. "The Board will spend the next few months considering my succession and a replacement for James, who has served the Board with distinction and diligence," she said.

The aviation market has endorsed Qantas' strategies, which led to the bid by APA, the largest takeover offer for an airline in the history of the industry, Jackson added.

During the two-day strategy session, the company's Board reinforced its support for the continuation of its strategic direction, including the growth of domestic flying businesses, restructuring of the company's international airline operations and supply businesses, investment in new generation aircraft and product, consideration of consolidation opportunities and cost reduction efforts.

QUBSF.PK closed Thursday's trade at US$4.40, up US$0.10 or 2.33% on a volume of 250 shares.


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