Corti says there is no more money for Sabena

Mario Corti says Swissair will no longer pay for Sabena Keystone

The head of the Swissair Group, Mario Corti, has confirmed the company will not inject any more money into the loss-making Belgian carrier, Sabena. Swissair has a 49.5 per cent stake in the company and is contracted to raise its stake to 85 per cent.

This content was published on June 25, 2001 - 09:53

Corti also denied the Swissair group is on the verge of bankruptcy.

In an interview published on Monday in the 'Aargauer Zeitung' and Geneva's 'Le Temps', Corti said that future flying activities would be concentrated on Swissair and Crossair.

"We want to organise an orderly withdrawal from all the foreign stakes which are losing money. Our role is not to finance indefinitely the operational losses of companies in which we are shareholders," he said.

"I cannot ask Swissair shareholders to continue to pay for operational losses of other airline companies," he added.

Corti's remarks look set to create a dispute with the Belgian government, which is the majority stakeholder in Sabena. Under the terms of a contract between the two parties, Swissair Group should raise its stake to 85 per cent once the bilateral accords between Switzerland and the European Union are operational.

Corti said that the contract should be renegotiated because an 85 per cent stake was no longer realistic.

However, on Friday, Belgium said it would go to court if the Swissair Group broke the contract.

Commenting on the financial situation of his group, Corti said that although there were "serious problems", there were "solutions".

As far as other group activities are concerned, Corti said he would concentrate on those businesses which were performing well and posting profitable growth. In particular, he mentioned Gate Gourmet, SRTechnics, Nuance, Swissport and Swisscargo.

Corti also said he intended to give more importance to Geneva airport.

"Our PendulAir (the service between Geneva and Zurich) will operate 14 flights a day in each direction as of October. And we are also examining the possibilities for long-haul flights from Geneva," he said.

Further details of measures to improve the financial position of the Swissair Group are expected to be announced on July 12. The group chalked up losses of SFr2.9 billion ($1.63 billion) in the year 2000.

swissinfo with agencies

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