Virgin Australia to complete Skywest takeover in April

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Virgin Australia's takeover bid for Australian regional carrier Skywest Airlines should be completed in April after a hearing date was set for one of its final approvals.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Skywest says that a Singapore High Court hearing, in which it will seek approval for the proposed acquisition, has been scheduled for 26 March.

Court approval is required in Singapore as Skywest's holding company is incorporated there.

The approval is the final hurdle for the cash and shares takeover, as Virgin has already received notification that Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board will not block the bid.

Assuming that the court grants approval, Skywest says that the trading of its shares on the ASX will be suspended from 19:00 Sydney time on 27 March, while its shares traded on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) will be suspended from 7:30 GMT on 28 March. Its shares will then be delisted from the ASX on 11 April, and from the AIM on 12 April.

Skywest shareholders will then receive the cash component for their shares on 19 April, while normal trading of the Virgin shares allocated to them will commence from 22 April.

The takeover bid from Virgin, announced in late October last year, will lead to Skywest remaining as a separately managed subsidiary, although it will adopt Virgin branding across its operations.

Under its own brand, Skywest flies scheduled regional and resource charter services in Western Australia. It also operates ATR 72s on behalf of Virgin for regional services in the eastern states of Australia.