Mario Fonseca/RIO DE JANEIRO

The reorganisation of Brazil's Varig group has been completed, with its assets redistributed among new holding companies responsible for specific operations. Varig, previously controlled directly by the Foundation Ruben Berta (FRB) has also been placed under the control of a new body known as FRB-Par, pending approval by the Brazilian Trade Commission. The move has no impact on the ownership of Varig.

FRB-Par will manage assets worth $3.3 billion, controlling flag-carrier Varig Airlines and two new holding companies: Varig PTA, responsible for regional air transport activities, and Varig PSC, responsible for non-airline services.

Varig PTA will manage regional carriers Nordeste, based in Salvador, and Rio Sul, based in Rio de Janeiro, plus a charter start-up, Rotatur, which should launch this month, offering early morning domestic flights. Though Rotatur will utilise the assets of the two regionals and Varig, it will operate independently and could later acquire its own aircraft.

FRB-Par president and chief executive Ozires Silva says Rotatur will target untapped markets, aiming to win over the 20 million Brazilians who travel long-distances by bus. Varig PSC will include the Tropical Hotel chain, SATA airport services and V-Travels.

FRB-Par's investor relations director Manuel Guedes says Varig's reorganisation aims "to give our many operations greater transparency, thus allowing the market to better identify their respective activities and measure their results". Varig PTA, including Rotatur, should report a turnover of $495 million this year, while Varig PSC projects a figure of $140 million.

• Brazil's number-two carrier, debt-ridden VASP, has denied claims that a religious group may take it over. The National Convention of the Assemblies of God in Brazil and Abroad had said it had tendered a proposal to acquire VASP for more than $200 million. Germany's Lufthansa has denied South American reports that it plans to buy VASP's 50% stake in LAB (Lloyd Aereo Boliviano).

Source: Flight International