N.Z. gov't approves SIA bid to buy stake in Air New Zealand.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced Monday it has obtained approval from the New Zealand government to buy an 8.3% stake in Air New Zealand.
SIA had been negotiating for a stake in the carrier with New Zealand's Brierley Investment Ltd., which owns 47% of Air New Zealand.
Brierley had favored SIA over Australia's Qantas Airways in the two airlines' bid for a chunk of the New Zealand carrier.
Talks between Air New Zealand and SIA encountered difficulties earlier because of SIA's insistence on seeking as much as a 40% stake. No foreign airline is allowed to hold more than 25% of Air New Zealand.
With Air New Zealand already owning 50% of Australia's Ansett Airlines, SIA is eyeing Australia's domestic market.
SIA, one of the most profitable airlines in the world, bought a 49% share of Britain's Virgin Atlantic Airways last December -- its first purchase of a stake in another airline.
Its attempt to buy a 50% stake in Ansett Airlines from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. was thwarted by Air New Zealand, which owns the other 50% and has the pre-emptive right to buy the News Corp. stake for itself.