Ansett Holdings has launched an A$15.3 million takeover bid for Australian regional Hazelton Airlines. Ansett has already bought 20% of the carrier from the Hazelton family, reducing their stake from 33% to 13%. Other shareholders include Perth-based Skippers Aviation, with 25%, and Truegrip Aviation with 10%.

Ansett's offer of A$0.90 per share for Hazelton represents a 36% premium. Truegrip's chairman says it is "inadequate" because the Cudal, New South Wales-based carrier has expansion opportunities. Saab 340 operator Hazelton suffered a 72% drop in net profit to just A$228,000 in the year ended June, despite a 10% rise in sales to A$69 million. It blamed fuel prices and an unfavourable tax position.

At the same time, Ansett-owned Kendell Airlines suffered a 67% profit slump to $5.2 million, due to problems with the introduction of Bombardier CRJs. There are no plans to change the Australian regional destinations served by the Ansett/Air New Zealand group.

• Qantas Defence Services, a subsidiary of the Australian flag-carrier, is to buy the assets of engine overhaul specialist Pacific Turbine. Sydney Bankstown airport-based Pacific will retain engine sites in Western Australia and Queensland. Originally a unit of Hawker de Havilland, Pacific was later bought by New Zealand engineering and repair company Airwork.

Qantas says the purchase is linked to its defence maintenance commitments, but claims it has not yet selected locations for the overhaul of Rolls-Royce Adour engines powering the Royal Australian Air Force's Hawk trainer fleet.

Source: Flight International