The Business Times

Internet tycoon's bet turns sour on superjumbos

Published Sun, Aug 3, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[TOKYO] Internet entrepreneur Shinichi Nishikubo turned around the unprofitable Japanese budget carrier Skymark Airlines Inc after taking a stake in 2003 and becoming its president the following year. Now he faces another crisis as a plan to buy Airbus Group NV A380 jets turns sour.

Skymark shares lost a quarter of their value in two days after Airbus decided to cancel the airline's order for six of the superjumbos. Mr Nishikubo said the carrier had been in talks with Airbus since April after telling the aircraft maker it needed to alter plans to introduce the plane because of a weaker yen and competition.

Skymark has paid 26.5 billion yen (S$322 million) in deposits for the double-decker planes - more than the airline's market capitalisation - and may risk losing those payments, according to Timothy Ross, a Singapore-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG.

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