JAL SELLS DHL STAKE, SHARES PUT IN TRUST WHILE IPO CONSIDERED
Japan Airlines has sold a 20-percent ownership stake in DHL
International back to the company, which has placed the shares in
investment trusts while it explores various sale options, including a
possible initial public stock offering.
The JAL shares, and other shares totaling 23 percent of the company,
have been put into two trust accounts set up by WestDeutsche Landesbank. The trust account
purchase agreements carry a three-year option period, within which current shareholders —
the two largest of which are Germany’s Deutsche Post and Lufthansa German Airlines — may
re-purchase the shares.
Placing the shares in trust will allow DHL time to consider its options,
which clearly include an IPO. "We have for some time contemplated taking DHL public
in an initial public offering, and this is the most likely
avenue that we will pursue — not in the immediate short term, but
certainly during the three-year option period," said Patrick Lupo,
executive chairman of DHL International.
An IPO would allow DHL "to access broader sources of financing in the
public markets to support our business development and acquisitions, as well as giving
liquidity to our shareholders," Lupo said. "We have some exciting opportunities
and will be pursuing our plans actively over the coming months."
JAL will retain a 6-percent stake in Brussels-based DHL International,
the non-U.S. operating arm of international express company DHL Worldwide Express.
Deutsche Post and Lufthansa each own 25-percent stakes.
"There are a bunch of possibilities for how to deal with that 20
percent," a spokesman for Deutsche Post said. "One is an IPO, and one of many
others is that one or more of the current shareholders could purchase additional
shares." Deutsche Post has no plans to change its ownership position in DHL, the
"Whilst DHL is strongly capitalized, we have put in place an extensive
investment program with significant capital requirements. The program
includes the Euro 1-billion investment in our European air fleet and other
major investments in infrastructure across our business in Europe, Asia and the
Americas," Lupo said. "Access to public capital markets will help us to
accelerate plans to consolidate DHL’s position as the world’s leading international