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Air NZ reveals new Hazelton bid

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 5th December 2000

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The bidding battle for Australian regional airline Hazelton has moved up a notch with Air New Zealand (NZSE: AIRVA) advising a revised offer of A$1.35 a share by its Ansett subsidiary.

On Friday Ansett reaffirmed its commitment to buying the 80% of Hazelton Airlines which it does not already own, and urged all Hazelton shareholders not to sell their shares until it had communicated its intentions.

Ansett's previous offer was A90 cents per share, but that was overtaken by a Qantas bid of A$1.20.

The spoils of the bidding war are centred not on Hazelton profitability - the airline suffered a 72% drop in profit to A$228,000 in the 2000 financial year - but on the airline's regional routes and valuable take-off and landing slots at Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport.

Ansett is reported to need to improve the performance of its regional airlines, and ownership of Hazelton would allow it to compete more vigorously against Qantas, which has expanded its regional services in the deregulated New South Wales market.

Ansett has extended the deadline for accepting its new offer until January 13th, and is calling on Hazelton shareholders to support its new bid.

"We are calling on Hazelton shareholders to stay with Ansett Australia", says Ron Rosalky, GM Australian Regional Airlines.

"Ansett and Hazelton are longstanding and successful commercial partners, and this is a logical step forward for the future development of the Hazelton airlines business."

Prior to the Air NZ-Ansett bid announced in October Hazelton shares were trading at A66 cents.

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