Qantas takes precautions against hostile takeover

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Qantas is taking precautions against hostile takeovers after its share price dropped over 30% following a dismal profit forecast last week.

The measures include the appointment of financial services firm Macquarie Group to advise the Oneworld alliance member, says a Qantas spokesman. The carrier has also appointed Citigroup to monitor the Qantas share register for signs of a corporate raider accumulating a stake.

Media reports from Australia suggest the company has appointed an internal task force to coordinate efforts against a possible takeover. The Australian Financial Review, citing anonymous sources, said the task force includes CEO Alan Joyce, Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey, CFO Gareth Evans, legal counsel Brett Johnson, and head of government and corporate affairs Olivia Wirth.

The measures appear to be mainly precautionary, and seem related to the plunge of Qantas shares on the Australian Stock Exchange since late March, which has seen them decline from 2012 high above A$1.80 ($1.78) to below A$1.00 a share.

The decline was exacerbated by Qantas's 5 June warning of a 90% drop in its FY2011/F12 profits for the year to 30 June 2012.