TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空) yesterday said it is to dissolve the company after its attempts to keep it afloat failed.
The company looked at options, including a sale, restructuring and capital injections, during three meetings between its board of directors and industry experts, TransAsia Airways chief executive officer Liu Tung-ming (劉東明) told a news conference at the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
“Despite our best efforts to devise a new business model, the company could not produce an effective turnaround plan to repair its deteriorating finances,” Liu said.
The airline said it is unable to repay US$75 million in European convertible bonds due on Tuesday next week.
The company’s net worth was estimated at about NT$5.44 billion (US$170.29 million), or a book value of NT$7.17 per share, as of the end of last month, TransAsia vice president Chen I-chieh (陳逸潔) said.
The airline operated 27 routes in Taiwan, China and the rest of Asia, each representing about a third of total sales, Chen said.
Photo: Lee Chung-hsien, Taipei Times
In the first three quarters, the company racked up losses of NT$2.2 billion, Liu said.
TransAsia chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) blamed the declining number of Chinese visitors, as well as rising fuel prices and a strengthening US dollar, for the company’s steep losses.
TransAsia’s load factor had fallen to about 60 percent, which was well below its domestic peers’ and unsustainable, Lin said.
TransAsia shares are to resume trading today following yesterday’s suspension, but trading would be conducted on a full-cash delivery basis, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said.
At a news conference held jointly with the heads of government agencies yesterday, the Cabinet said that the impact of the airline’s closure would be limited and the company has enough cash to refund customers and cover severance pay.
An estimated 100,000 travelers are affected by the unexpected folding of the nation’s first commercial airline, but other carriers have capacity to take on passengers booked to fly with TransAsia as it is the off-season, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Air Transport Division director Han Chen-hua (韓振華) said.
TransAsia has created a trust fund to ensure that customers get a full refund on booked flights, and the company will not dismiss ticketing and customer service staff until Dec. 20, so that they can assist in the transfer of passengers to other airlines, the firm said.
The CAA formed a special task force immediately after TransAsia announced a temporary suspension of operations on Monday to ensure that travelers’ rights are protected, Fan said.
The CAA is to impose a fine of between NT$600,000 and NT$3 million on TransAsia for halting flights without seeking prior approval.
The CAA has conducted regular financial inspections on TransAsia, and the company still holds more than NT$1 billion in cash and is not facing an immediate financial crisis, Han said.
TransAsia has 1,735 employees and they are covered by labor insurance, while there is NT$310 million in the company’s pension fund account, Deputy Minister of Labor Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) said.
“The money is more than enough to pay employees’ pensions and the remaining amount can be used to cover severance pay,” Kuo said.
The FSC and prosecutors have launched an inspection into possible insider trading in the company’s shares, and it has yet to be determined whether company executives were involved, commission vice chairman Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧) said.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange on Aug. 15 listed TransAsia as financially unstable, to warn investors of the risk involved in trading the company’s shares, Huang said.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
‘MILITARY PLAYBOOK’: It would have taken far longer for the PLA to put together the drills had they actually been in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, Joseph Wu said China is using military drills to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan, and its anger over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit is just an excuse, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday. Speaking in English at a news conference in Taipei, Wu accused China of “gross violations of international law.” “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” he said. “It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.” He said the Chinese