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N.Z. gov't approves SIA bid to buy stake in Air New Zealand.

SINGAPORE, April 10 Kyodo

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.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Apr 17, 2000
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