by Sally Peters January 9th, 2012
As it continues to recover from bankruptcy, Japan Airlines has reportedly said that it is planning to release shares worth up to 1 trillion yen as it relists on the stock exchange in Tokyo. A sale of this size would turn JAL into one of the biggest listed airlines on the planet.
At the beginning of 2010 JAL filed for bankruptcy. The company had debts of more than £16 billion and was bailed out by the government. It then went through a restructuring process which included cutting its workforce by around a third, cancelling routes, and trimming benefits. Cost restructuring and new agreements with the unions helped the airline to emerge from bankruptcy in 2011.
At a time when the price of jet fuel remains high and there is increased domestic competition from budget carriers, some analysts feel that JAL is not yet out of the woods. The carrier recently announced that it was setting up its own budget offshoot with Mitsubishi and Qantas. The operation will be called Jetstar Japan.
Competition also comes from Japan’s largest low-cost operator Skymark Airlines, and from AirAsia Japan, which has been set up by AirAsia and All Nippon Airways. However, even though there are more players, JAL managed to post a record profit in 2010 of 188.4 billion yen.
The share sale comes at a time when Europe continues to struggle with a debt crisis, and the world enters another economic slowdown. This could mean a fall in passenger numbers which would result in a fall in profits.