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Old May 5th, 2005, 05:14 AM   #21
Paulo2004
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Tap Portugal is steadily on its way to become a world transport giant.
Good luck!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:22 PM   #22
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Brazilian carrier Varig may be placed under control of state bank - report
5 May 2005

SAO PAULO (AFX) - Banrisul, a bank run by the state of Rio Grande do Sul, may assume management of airline Varig SA, as part of the carrier's restructuring, financial daily Gazeta Mercantil reported, citing sources.

One of the missions of Banrisul would be to find an investor to refloat the company.

Varig has between 6.5-9 bln reals in debt, Gazeta Mercantil said.

Portugal's state-controlled airline TAP-Portugal is reportedly among five candidates to buy a 20 pct stake in the Brazilian airline.

Fernando Pinto, chairman of TAP-Portugal, dismissed suggestions that TAP plans to acquire Varig or merge with it.

According to Pinto, TAP has simply presented a financial restructuring plan for Varig.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 07:28 PM   #23
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Brazil GOL Airline Completes Global Share Offering
6 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian no-frills airline GOL Linhas Aereas Intelgentes S.A. (GOL) announced Friday it has completed a global offering of shares totaling 593.7 million Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.465).

In a statement, GOL said it offered a total of 16.9 million shares. Of the total, 7.72 million were sold through a primary offering and 9.18 million under a secondary offering.

Part of the offering referred to a stake held by BSSF Air Holdings LLC, an affiliate of AIG Capital Partners.

Each share was sold for BRL35.12.

GOL said that, of the total, 4.06 million shares were sold in Brazil, and 12.84 million were distributed in the U.S. in the form of 6.42 million American Depositary Receipts. Each ADR represented two preferred shares.

The international offering was led by Morgan Stanley as sole bookrunning manager, and Merrill Lynch (MER), Raymond James (RJF) and Santander Investment (SBP) as joint lead managers.

The local offering was led by Banco do Brasil (BBAS3.BR) and Banco Safra.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 03:55 AM   #24
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Portugal Negotiates Brazil Airline Bailout
6 May 2005

BRASILIA (AP)--Portugal will give Brazil access to European markets in exchange for more Brazilian investments in the European country, Portuguese Foreign Minister Diogo Freitas do Amaral said Friday.

Amaral said he and Brazil's Vice President Jose Alencar discussed a proposal by Portuguese airline TAP to bail out Brazil's debt-ridden flagship carrier Varig. Amaral didn't give details but said Portugal expects more investment from Brazil.

"What we'd like now is reciprocity...Brazilian investment in Portugal, and we know that many top companies could make an important contribution," Amaral told reporters at the Portuguese embassy.

Amaral, on his first overseas trip since taking office in March, met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim during his two-day visit. But his focus was courting Brazilian companies.

"What we told them modestly is that if they want to enter (the European market) through the Portuguese door, it will be wide open," he said.

Brazil invests only about $100 million to $200 million a year in Portugal, mostly in infrastructure companies. Meanwhile, Portuguese investments in Brazil average $500 million and peaked at around $2.4 billion in 1999 and 2000, when Portugal bought Brazilian phone companies sold by the government.

Asked about the negotiations between TAP (TPA.YY) and Varig (VAGV4.BR), Amaral said the talks haven't concluded. Varig has an outstanding debt estimated at 9.5 billions reals, or about $3.8 billion.

"The decision is up to the shareholders," he said. "But we won't interfere."

Earlier this week, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said TAP, Portugal's state-owned carrier, is negotiating with Varig but that no deal was imminent.

The Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negocios reported Wednesday that TAP had offered to merge with Varig to form a new airline. Other possible partners include the U.S.-based Texas Pacific Group and Brazilian airlines Gol and Ocean Air.

Under Brazilian law, no foreign partner can have more than a 20% stake in a Brazilian airline.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 05:23 AM   #25
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Both governments find the portuguese Tap Air Portugal offer to buy 20% of Varig as a challeging and welcomed proposal.




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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #26
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Brazil Airline Gol Wins 2nd-Place Market Share In April
9 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian no-frills airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOL) secured second place in the domestic market in April, just four years after starting operations, according to government statistics released late Friday.

Gol secured 27.8% of market share in the domestic market in April, overtaking its closest rival, Viacao Aerea Rio Grandense SA (VAGV4.BR), or Varig, which had 27.6% market share in April.

The airline has taken advantage of financial difficulties at Varig to gain market share in recent months, and has also increased capacity, adding three more of Boeing Co's (B) 737 airplanes since the beginning of the year, bringing its total fleet to 32 aircraft.

Gol's participation increased from 26% in March, up from 20% in April 2004.

Varig, on the other hand, has seen its market share fall from 29.9% in March and 30.6% a year ago. The airline, which is Brazil's largest when international services are included, is struggling under a burden of nearly 6 billion Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.462) of net debt.

Meanwhile, the largest domestic carrier, TAM SA (TANC4.BR), also gained market share in April, securing 42.3% of the domestic market, up from 41.7% in March.

In terms of passengers transported on domestic routes, TAM carried 1.03 million in April, while Gol carried 680,074 in the same period and Varig carried 675,373.

The total number of passengers carried by Brazilian airlines on domestic routes in April was 2.4 million, up from 2.1 million in the same period of 2004.

Meanwhile, in international flights Varig maintained its leadership with 82.2% of market share in April, but down from 88% of market share seen a year ago.

TAM, on the other hand, is picking up its participation in international services, with a market share of 15.8% in April, up from 12% seen a year ago.

In mid-morning trading, Gol's preferred shares were up 0.18% at BRL38.81. Gol is scheduled to release first quarter results on Tuesday before markets open.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:17 PM   #27
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Brazil Airline Varig Appoints New Board, Chief Executive
9 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Shareholders of Brazil's largest airline Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA (VAGV4.BR), or Varig, have appointed a new board of directors and chief executive, Varig said in a statement Monday.

The new board, formally appointed on Saturday, will be led by the new chairman, David Zylbersztajn, and deputy chairman, Omar Carneiro da Cunha Sobrinho.

The new board's first action was to appoint Henrique Neves as chief executive of the company, replacing Carlos Luiz Martins, according to the statement.

The board reshuffle is designed to help find a solution to Varig's debts, which are estimated at around 6 billion reals ($1=BRL2.45), including the possible sale of the airline to a new strategic partner.

The shareholders also appointed Marcos Castrioto de Azambuja, Eleazar de Carvalho Filho, Brigadier Sergio Xavier Ferolla and Sergio de Almeida Bruni as directors.

Gesner de Oliveira and Harro Fouquet are the two remaining survivors from the previous administration.

The distraction of its financial problems has started to affect the company's operating performance. Varig has been losing domestic market share and in April it was overtaken for the first time by start-up airline Gol Linhas Aereas (GOL), according to the government's civil aviation department, or DAC.

The board was scheduled to travel to Brasilia on Tuesday to meet with government officials. Brazil's government is Varig's largest creditor.

Varig's largest shareholder is the Rubem Berta Foundation, which is run on behalf of the airline's employees and has consistently blocked attempts to restructure the company's debts.

In 2004, the foundation blocked the Brazilian government's attempt to merge Varig with Brazil's second-largest airline, TAM SA (TANC4.BR).

A number of investors have expressed interest in buying Varig, including Brazilian entrepreneur German Efromovich, who owns the small Brazilian airline Ocean Air and Colombia's flagship airline Avianca.

Last week, Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates confirmed TAP Air Portugal (TPA.YY) had made an offer to buy a stake in Varig, while the local newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported that U.S.-based Texas Pacific Group (TGP.XX) was looking to buy the airline.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #28
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Brazil's Gol eyeing flights to Bolivia, Uruguay

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 10 (Reuters) - Brazil's Gol airline plans to start flights to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia next month and hopes to extend its international service to other neighboring countries by year's end, its president said on Tuesday.

"This year we should get to Uruguay and Paraguay," Gol President Constantino de Oliveira Junior said on a teleconference with analysts.

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes, whose discount fares and low-cost service have proved highly popular with Brazilians, already flies to Buenos Aires.

Last month, it overtook Varig to become the country's second-most-popular airline, with 27.8 percent of the domestic market. TAM is still number one domestically, with a 42.30 percent market share.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gol reported a first quarter net profit of 111 million reais, up 64 percent from a year earlier.

The company also increased its revenue targets for the year to 3 billion reais from 2.8 billion reais and raised its earnings per share estimate to between 2.85 reais and 3.15 reais per share from 2.70 reais and 3 reais per share.

Oliveira added on the teleconference that Gol expected its seat offering to grow 24 percent a year until 2009, with its fleet growing to 70 aircraft from the current 30, most of them Boeing 737-800s.

Gol's shares ended down 0.54 percent at 38.69 reais on Tuesday, performing better than a 2.76 percent drop by the Sao Paulo market's benchmark Bovespa index.
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Old May 14th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #29
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Brazil's Airline Gol 1Q Net Profit BRL131.1M VS BRL90.7M
10 May 2005
Dow Jones

Code:
   Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA - Sao Paulo (GOL) 
   Consolidated results, figures in Brazilian reals 
 
   Three months ended March 31, 2005 
 
                   2005          2004 
Net Revenue  BRL589.2 mln   BRL433.1 mln 
Ebitdar*        235.9 mln      187.5 mln 
Ebitdar margin   40.0 %         43.3 % 
Net Profit      131.1 mln       90.7 mln 
 
($1=BRL2.45)
*Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and aircraft rent expenses

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian no-frills airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOL) Tuesday reported higher net profits for the first quarter of 2005, as the firm added new aircraft and transported more passengers. This gain was partly offset by higher fuel prices.

Gol reported a net profit of 131.1 million Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.45) for the first quarter, slightly higher than markets had been expecting. The figure was up 44.6% from BRL90.7 million a year ago, and 5.8% higher from BRL123.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The airline, which started operations in January 2001, added three more of Boeing Co.'s (BA) 737 aircraft during the quarter, bringing the total fleet to 30 aircraft at the end of March.

As a result, the company increased the capacity available on its network, calculated as the number of available seat kilometers, to 2.73 million during the quarter, up 27.2% from 2.14 million a year ago.

Utilization of that capacity increased faster, with the number of kilometers flown by passengers rising to 2 million, up 29.7% from a year ago, driving the aircraft utilization rate, or load factor, to 73.4% during the quarter, up from 72% a year ago.

More passengers translated into higher net revenues of BRL589.2 million for the first quarter, up 36% from BRL433.1 million a year ago, though revenues were flat from the fourth quarter. [ 10-05-05 1228GMT ]

Operating revenue per available seat kilometer rose 6.9% to BRL0.216 during the quarter, Gol said in a statement.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and aircraft rent costs, or Ebitdar, totaled BRL235.9 million during the quarter, up 25.8% from a year ago. The Ebitdar margin was 40.0% of net revenues, down 3.3 percentage points from 43.3% a year ago.

The higher revenues were partly offset by higher costs, Gol said. The company reported that costs per available seat kilometer totaled BRL0.151 during the quarter, up 8.8% from a year ago, primarily due to higher fuel prices and the expansion of operations.

Total operating costs were BRL411.9 million during the quarter, up 38.5% from a year ago.

Fuel prices rose 41.1% per liter during the quarter, due to the higher cost of international crude oil, partly offset by the 7.8% appreciation of the Brazilian real during the period.

Aircraft rent costs fell 13.9% to BRL0.190 per available seat kilometer, as the company maintained its high aircraft utilization rate, flying on average 14 hours per day. Rental costs were also helped by the stronger Brazilian currency, Gol said.

The airline ended the quarter with short-term debt of BRL109.4 million, down 7.5% from a year ago. The company's net cash position was BRL646.3 million, down 11.6% from a year ago, primarily due to BRL93.4 million payments to Boeing for firm orders of new aircraft.

Gol said it plans to add six new aircraft during the second quarter, and four more in the second half of the year, bringing total fleet capacity to 40 aircraft by year end.

Most of these will be the larger 737-800 aircraft, each with 177 seats, translating into a 50% increase in the number of seats available at year-end compared with the end of 2004, Gol said.

The company plans to start a new international flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in June and Montevideo, Uruguay and Asuncion, Paraguay in the second half of the year.

Gol began international operations in December, with a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which the company said achieved profitability in the first full month of operations. Approximately 70% of passengers on those flights in the first quarter were Argentine, and over 90% of bookings were done over the internet, the firm said.

Gol said it expects demand for air transportation in Brazil to remain strong in 2005, driven by low fares and underlying economic fundamentals.

As a result, the company increased its guidance for full year net revenues to BRL3 billion, from BRL2.8 billion previously, with earnings per share of between BRL2.85 and BRL3.15, from BRL2.70 to BRL3.00 before.

The Ebitdar margin for the full year is expected to be the same, at between 38% to 40%, while the operating margin was nudged upward to 27% to 29%, from 26% to 28% previously.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #30
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Varig to Hold Talks on Rescue Plan Terms
By ALAN CLENDENNING
16 May 2005

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's flagship airline Varig is negotiating terms of a rescue plan with Portugal's state-owned airline to prevent the South American carrier from getting crushed by debt, the companies said Monday.

Under the deal being discussed, TAP Air Portugal would invest an undisclosed sum in Varig and get a stake of up to 20 percent in the Brazilian carrier, though the two airlines would not merge, TAP said.

The negotiations are expected to last three weeks and are aimed at reaching an agreement for an alliance allowing the companies to cut costs and "remain independent, while capturing the countless synergies that may become real," TAP chief executive Fernando Pinto said in a statement.

Varig ran advertisements in major Brazilian newspapers Monday announcing that the talks were under way, but an airline spokesman repeatedly declined comment on Pinto's remarks regarding the specifics of what TAP wants to achieve with the negotiations.

Both companies have overlapping trans-Atlantic routes between South America and Europe, and already have a code-sharing agreement on some flights.

TAP is trying to clinch the deal for a much tighter relationship because "a new opportunity was created pointing at the possibility of attempting to establish a strategic positioning in South Atlantic," Pinto said.

Any deal with Varig will be complicated because the airline comes loaded with debt of 9.5 billion reals ($3.8 billion) and has steadily lost domestic market share.

Also, Varig's controlling shareholder -- the nonprofit Rubem Berta Foundation representing airline employees -- has repeatedly refused to relinquish control during previous attempts at restructuring.

But Pinto said TAP agreed to negotiate with Varig only after the foundation said it intends "to hand over its shareholding control in the company."

Under Brazilian law, foreign companies are not allowed to hold more than 20 percent of Brazilian airlines. Pinto told Portugal's TSF radio that "it is TAP's goal to get those 20 percent."

He added: "There is no possibility of TAP merging with Varig, there will only be a participation in the company."

The foundation warned in the newspaper ads that no deal has been reached and that the talks could fall apart. The announcement about the TAP-Varig negotiations came after Varig received a flurry of interest from possible suitors, including U.S.-based private equity group Texas Pacific Group and Brazilian airline Ocean Air.

Any deal involving heavy foreign investment in Varig or management control of the airline by a foreign company will be sensitive, because the airline has always been in Brazilian hands since it was founded in 1927 and is a source of deep national pride.

But Pinto is Brazilian, and a former Varig chief executive who led the Brazilian company as recently as 2000.

Varig incurred much of its debt after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks prompted a big decline in air travel, and a depreciation of the Brazilian currency in 2002 forced it to pay more for dollar-linked costs like fuel and aircraft leasing payments.

The airline is expected to partially reduce its debt with proceeds from a December court decision giving it 2 billion reals ($800 million) in damages for losses from government-imposed price controls on airline ticket prices in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Varig is Brazil's largest carrier in overall domestic and international flights, with nearly 100 planes flying across Brazil and to 27 destinations abroad, but it recently fell to the No 3. spot for flights within Latin America's largest country amid stiff competition. Air Portugal flies to 42 destinations in 25 countries and is that country's leading airline.

Brazilian officials last December floated the idea of a state takeover of Varig to restructure the company, but later decided that a market solution is best for the airline.

Vice President Jose Alencar has said the government supports a plan for Varig debt to be turned into equity as part of a rescue plan, with creditors ending up owning a big chunk of the airline. He is seeking support from the Defense Ministry, which oversees civil aviation.

Portuguese Transportation and Communications Minister Mario Lino expressed confidence that a deal will be sealed to save Varig and help TAP.

"TAP has a part to play and I am happy about the advances in negotiations," Lino told reporters.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 06:30 PM   #31
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Brazil Airline Gol Gets OK For 2 New International Routes
19 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian no-frills airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOL), has received authorization to operate more two regular international flights, the company said Thursday.

Brazil's Commission for International Air Navigation Studies, or Cernai, has given Gol permission to fly to Montevideo and Asuncion, the capitals of Uruguay and Paraguay, respectively.

Gol said it expects to begin operating the new routes in the second half of 2005.

"Launching flights to both countries is part of Gol's expansion plan in South America," the company said in a statement.

Cernai has also authorized Gol to add 26,694 regular seats per month in its flights to Argentina, Gol's first international destination, launched in December 2004.

The airline is also planning to launch services to Santa Cruz, in Bolivia, in June.

Gol has grown robustly since launching operations in 2001, and has said it will add approximately 13 leased aircraft this year, all from Boeing Co.'s (BA) 737 family, to end the year with a fleet of about 40 aircraft.

In April, just four years after starting operations, Gol secured second place in the domestic market - overtaking its closest rival, Viacao Aerea Rio Grandense SA (VAGV4.BR), or Varig.

On the financial side, the company recently posted a net profit of 131.1 million Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.46) for the first quarter, up 44.6% from BRL90.7 million a year ago.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #32
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Brazil Varig, Portugal TAP See Shr Deal In 3 Wks -Reports
19 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's largest airline, Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA (VAGV4.BR), and Portugal's TAP Air Portugal (TPA.YY) expect to reach an investment deal in three weeks, Brazilian newspapers reported Thursday.

TAP may take up to a 20% stake in Varig, and may also help Varig find more investors interested in the Brazilian airline, Varig's chairman, David Zylberstajn, said after meeting Wednesday with Brazil Vice President Jose Alencar.

Earlier this week, Varig and TAP confirmed they are negotiating a capitalization plan for heavily indebted Varig.

Varig has suffered severe financial difficulties since the airline industry went into recession worldwide in 2001. Varig's net debt is estimated at about 6 billion reals ($1=BRL2.44).

Zylberstajn was appointed last week, along with a new board of directors and a new chief executive, to find a solution to the airline's debt problem and to negotiate with companies interested in capitalizing the company.

Under Brazilian law, no non-Brazilian company can own a majority stake in a Brazilian airline, however.

A number of domestic investors have expressed interest in buying Varig, including Brazilian entrepreneur German Efromovich, which owns the small Brazilian airline Ocean Air. Efromovich recently purchased a controlling stake in Colombia's flagship airline, Avianca.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:15 PM   #33
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Brazil Airline TAM To Add 20 Firm Orders For Airbus A320s
25 May 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's largest domestic airline, TAM SA (TAMM4.BR), is looking to place another 20 firm orders for aircraft with Airbus (ABI.YY), local financial daily Valor Economico reported in its Wednesday edition.

The company is in "final negotiations" to buy 20 of Airbus' A320 aircraft, the newspaper said, quoting TAM President Marco Antonio Bologna.

The 20 planes are currently options from a previous agreement signed in July 2004, under which TAM placed firm orders for 10 A320s. Those 10 aircraft are scheduled to start arriving this year, with deliveries continuing over the next four years.

TAM was not immediately available to comment when contacted Wednesday.

Local press have previously reported that TAM plans to use the larger A320 aircraft to ramp up its international operations.

Earlier this month, TAM unveiled plans for primary and secondary offerings of stock, and the company's share of the proceeds would be used to buy the aircraft, according to the report.

TAM will offer a total of 30.2 million shares to the market, with 21.1 million through the issue of new shares, and 9.1 million through a secondary offering by existing shareholders.

Based on TAM's estimated price range of between 18.00 Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.44) and BRL23.00 per share, the company can expect to raise up to BRL485 million to pay for the A320s.

TAM, with 42.3% of the domestic market in April, is Brazil's largest domestic airline, according to government statistics.

The company posted a first-quarter profit of BRL53.5 million, more than triple the BRL16.9 million seen in the same period a year ago.

- By Rogerio Jelmayer and Matthew Cowley, Dow Jones Newswires
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 06:57 AM   #34
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Brazil Airline Gol Keeps '05 Guidance Despite Competition
01 June 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazilian no-frills airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) Wednesday reaffirmed its financial guidance for 2005, despite intense price competition in the second quarter, and said it's optimistic for the second half of the year.

Passenger traffic increased 46% during May, compared with a year ago, while the company's fleet capacity increased 42% with the addition of new aircraft, Gol said in a statement.

The airline filled more than 70% of its aircraft seats during May, the highest load factor in the Brazilian airline industry, it said.

Gol acknowledged that yields, or the amounts paid by each passenger for each kilometer flown, suffered because of "aggressive" fare promotions and the appreciation of the Brazilian real.

Price competition has increased primarily because of the end of the code share agreement between TAM SA (TAMM4.BR) and Varig (VAGV4.BR) at the beginning of May, Gol said.

The strengthening of the real harms revenues because a significant proportion of the firm's costs, including aircraft leasing and jet fuel, are linked directly or indirectly to prices in U.S. dollars.

However, Gol said it expects costs to remain the same during the second quarter despite jet fuel costs 20% higher than a year ago.

The airline, which launched operations in 2001, ended May with 33 of Boeing Co's (BA) 737 aircraft in operation, and 34 in the fleet.

Furthermore, "advance bookings for the third quarter indicate that Gol traffic growth is above expectations," the firm said.

"Despite the yield environment facing the industry in the second quarter of 2005, we anticipate solid third and fourth quarters," the firm said.

Gol confirmed full-year 2005 guidance with net revenues of approximately 3 billion reals ($1=BRL2.41), up 53% from 2004. The company said it expects earnings per share of between BRL2.85 and BRL3.15, up 40% from last year.

The firm said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and aircraft rental costs will be approximately 38% to 40% of net revenues, with an operating margin of approximately 27% to 29%.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 12:35 AM   #35
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Brazil's Government OKs TAP Plan for Varig
2 June 2005

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's government has tentatively approved a plan for Portugal's state-owned airline to take a 20 percent stake in Brazilian flagship carrier Varig to prevent the South American company from collapsing under a mountain of debt, executives said Thursday.

The approval is not formal, but Varig Chairman David Zylberstajn and TAP Air Portugal Chief Executive Fernando Pinto said senior government officials agreed in principle to their rescue plan for Varig after a three-hour meeting.

No financial details were disclosed, but Pinto told reporters after the meeting that "there's a lot of money involved, no doubt."

"Our plan will be revealed over time," he said. "But the volume of capital that will enter Varig in the near future will be very large."

The airlines have been negotiating for weeks, but the Brazilian government's blessing was crucial because it is Varig's largest creditor.

Both TAP and Varig have said the deal will not be a merger, calling the arrangement an alliance. Analysts say such an arrangement would allow the two carriers to consolidate identical trans-Atlantic routes, expand their existing code sharing agreement and get better deals on purchases ranging from jetliners to fuel.

Varig, whose full name is Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA, has debt of 9.5 billion reals ($4 billion).

Much of it was incurred after the 2001 terror attacks prompted steep declines in air travel, and a depreciation of the Brazilian currency in 2002 forced it to pay more for dollar-linked costs like fuel and aircraft leasing payments.
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Old June 4th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #36
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TAP-Portugal restructuring plan for Varig to take up to six months: report

LISBON, June 3 (AFP) - A rescue plan which TAP-Portugal has tabled for troubled Brazilian flagship carrier Varig, tentatively approved by Brasilia, will take up to six months to be completed, TAP-Portugal president Fernando Pinto said in comments published Friday.

TAP will not inject capital directly into Varig under the plan, which will see the Portuguese carrier take a 20 percent stake in the Latin American company, he added.

"Money will not come out of TAP," the Portuguese business daily Diario Economico quoted Pinto, a one-time president of Varig, as saying in Brazil.

Instead TAP would coordinate the financial operation which will involve several investors with the Portuguese airline also providing planes to Varig in an effort to boost its capitalization, he said.

Pinto and Varig chairman David Zylberstajn said Thursday in Brazil that senior Brazilian government officials had agreed in principle to their rescue plan for Varig following a three-hour meeting.

As the Brazilian government is the main creditor of heavily-endebted Varig, its approval of the plan is key.

Pinto gave no further details of the plan, saying only that they would be revealed at the right moment.

Last month TAP and Varig signed a memorandum of understanding under which the Portuguese firm can directly or indirectly acquire a stake of up to 20 percent of Varig, the maximum allowed a foreign company by Brazilian law.

Varig, one of Latin America's largest airlines, is on the verge of collapse from a debt load that stood at around 2.3 billion dollars (1.9 billion euros) at the end of last year.

The rescue plan would allow teh two airlines to expand their existing code share agreement, negotiate better deals from suppliers and consolidate their routes betwen Portugal and Brazil, a Portuguese colony until the 19th century.

TAP offers some 40 weekly flights from Portugal to Brazil and relies on Varig to offer its passengers connecting flights within the Latin American country.

The Portuguese carrier is the European airline with the most flights to Brazil and wants to become a hub for travel from the continent to the country, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination for European tourists.

TAP and Varig are members of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline partnership, which is led by Germany's Lufthansa and United Airlines.
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Old June 6th, 2005, 11:55 PM   #37
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Brazil's Varig Airline Reorganization Faces Debt Dilemma
By Tom Murphy
6 June 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's traditional flagship airline, Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA (VAGV4.BR), or Varig, still faces a major debt dilemma as part of its reorganization, analysts and officials said Monday.

Last week, Varig announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Portugal's TAP Air Portugal (TPA.YY) on ways for the Portuguese company to aid the financially stricken Brazilian carrier.

However, a meeting involving Varig, TAP and top government officials on Thursday didn't result in any solution to Varig's debt problem.

Varig's total debt is equal to about 9 billion Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.47). Varig owes about BRL2.5 billion of that total to the Federal Tax Authority and to the Federal Airport Authority.

In 2004, Varig won a federal appeals court decision awarding it BRL2.5 billion in damages from the federal government for losses from government price control policies in the 1990s.

At Thursday's meeting, Varig and TAP executives appealed to Finance Minister Antonio Palocci to "marry up" Varig's BRL2.5 billion in government-held debts with the BRL2.5 billion court award. However, Finance Ministry officials said Palocci rejected the appeal, saying the federal government was still in the process of appealing the court decision.

"I think the federal government will eventually give Varig a break," said Pedro Galdi, an airline industry analyst for the ABN-Amro Bank subsidiary in Brazil. "It's a fact that, if Varig were to go under, its rivals would not have the scale to be able to take over all of its routes."

Finance Ministry officials said Palocci was unwilling to cancel the government's appeal in the price control case because of the administration's commitment to fiscal austerity.

Meanwhile, TAP is holding back on announcement of any specific plan for aiding Varig. Press reports have said TAP will take a 20% stake in Varig and then supply a major infusion of capital. However, the same reports said TAP would like to have some government help in handling Varig's huge debts.

A spokesman for Varig noted that the memorandum of understanding between the two companies didn't represent "a final deal with TAP," but merely the beginning of formal talks.

Varig's problems began with the airline industry recession in 2001.

The company's latest attempt to reorganize did nothing to help its market share. According to Brazil's Civil Aviation Department, or DAC, Varig's share of the domestic market declined in May to 26.9% from 27.6% in April.

Domestic rival TAM was the big winner against Varig in May. TAM hit a market share of 43.2% in May, up from 41.8% in April.

Despite Varig's troubles, prospects for the market as a whole are improving.

"Brazil's economy is growing," said Galdi. "The industry will expand."

DAC's May figures showed a rise of 14% in domestic passengers from a year ago and an increase of 6.3% in international passengers from May of last year.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 06:50 AM   #38
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Brazil's TAM Airline Raised BRL543.4M In Apr Share Offers
14 June 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's largest domestic airline, TAM SA (TANC4.BR), raised 543.4 million Brazilian reals ($1=BRL2.449) through primary and secondary shares offers made in April, the company announced Tuesday.

TAM said that it offered a total of 30.190 million shares during the month, with 21.133 million through an initial public offering and 9.057 million through a secondary offer.

The company said that it sold shares at a price of BRL18.00 each. The price announced was in line with with the company's original forecast of between BRL18.00 and BRL23.00 per share. TAM will debut its new shares on the market later Tuesday.

The secondary offer represents the sale of a stake in investment funds managed by Credit Suisse First Boston (CSR), which owns about 26.5% of Tam's total capital. The primary offer represents the sale of new shares. Currently, the company is controlled by Brazil's Rolim family, which holds 73%.

The shares were sold in Brazil and also to qualified investors in the U.S. under 144A rules. Tam's shares are listed on Level 2 of Sao Paulo's Bovespa stock exchange, which has stricter corporate governance requirements than the exchange's basic listing.

UBS Investment Bank (UBS), Banco Pactual, and Unibanco (UBHD3.BR) coordinated the offering. TAM, with 43.2% of the domestic market in May, is the Brazil's largest domestic airline, according to government statistics.

The company posted a first-quarter profit of BRL53.495 million, more than triple the BRL16.945 million in the same period a year earlier.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 07:50 AM   #39
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Brazil TAM Airlines In 'Final Talks' To Buy 20 Airbuses
14 June 2005

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Brazil's largest domestic airline, TAM SA (TANC4.BR), is in "final talks" aimed at buying 20 airplanes from Airbus (ABI.YY), TAM President Marco Antonio Bologna said Tuesday.

"We expect to make an announcement within the next few weeks," Bologna said at a news conference. He said the deal would also likely include options for an additional 20 aircraft from Aribus.

Bologna said TAM was looking at the A319 family and the A320 family of Airbus aircraft.

Bologna said, "The aim is to have these planes coming on stream as we renovate our existing fleet. The renovation must take place between 2007 and 2010."
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Old June 21st, 2005, 07:42 AM   #40
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Brazil's Varig confirms end of negotiations with Portugal's TAP Air
By MICHAEL ASTOR
Associated Press Writer
20 June 2005

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) - A top official at Brazil's debt-laden Varig airlines confirmed Monday that Portugal's TAP Air had ended negotiations to buy a 20 percent stake in the troubled carrier.

Omar Carneiro da Cunha, vice president of Varig's board of directors, told The Associated Press that Varig's filing for bankruptcy protection Friday effectively voided the memorandum of understanding between the two companies.

"We haven't discussed plans for the future, but if they are interested in future discussions we remain open to them," Cunha said in a telephone interview.

Saddled with a debt of 9.5 billion reals (US$4 billion, euro3.3 billion) Varig has been teetering on the brink of insolvency for years and seen its domestic market share dwindle in the face of competition from low-cost carriers.

TAP and Varig had been discussing a plan under which Portugal's state-owned airline would invest an undisclosed sum in Varig and receive a stake of up to 20 percent in the Brazilian carrier.

The companies have overlapping trans-Atlantic routes between South America and Europe, and already have a code-sharing agreement on some flights. The two airlines would not have merged under the deal being discussed.

But Varig filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday to keep a restructuring plan on track and prevent 11 of its 82 jetliners from being seized by a division of American International Group Inc.

Varig obtained a temporary restraining order from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York to prevent its aircraft from being seized overseas.

U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. on Monday filed an objection to the restraining order, claiming that Varig's petitions were "deficient" and "premature and thus invalid," Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Boeing said it has 11 current operating leases with Varig, but did not provide financial details.

AIG, which owns the 11 planes that were threatened with seizure, has also opposed the temporary restraining order.

Boeing and AIG claim that aircraft leasing agreements are not included in the Brazilian bankruptcy protection agreement.

Sao Paulo civil court judge Alexander dos Santos Macedo on Monday appointed the accounting firm Exato Assessoria Contabil to perform an audit of Varig and two affiliated airlines: Rio Sul and Nordeste Linhas Aereas.

Despite the legal tangles, TAP reaffirmed its interest in Varig on Monday.

"TAP continues to follow the referred (bankruptcy) process with close attention as it maintains the strategic interests that led it to ponder establishing a profound partnership with Varig," TAP said in a statement signed by Chief Executive Fernando Pinto.

TAP said it now needed to wait for developments in Varig's bankruptcy process.

Varig, whose full name is Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA, had faced a Friday deadline to pay overdue leasing bills for the planes. The filing allows the carrier to keep using the jetliners while a judge mediates details of the airline's rescue plan with creditors, Varig lawyer Sergio Bermudes said.

Varig now has two months to present a recovery plan to creditors and will continue operating as usual, according to Bermudes.
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