The founder of a low-cost British airline group, EasyJet PLC (EasyJet), Stelios Haji-Ioannou on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, urged the company’s shareholders to vote for removing two directors. It was a new move for the founder to retain cash liquidity of the company by forcing to cancel an order for buying 107 Airbus planes amid the chaotic situation in the global aviation industry due to the coronavirus hit.
Haji-Ioannou Targets on Two Directors
Haji-Ioannou urged the stakeholders to support the removal of two directors including the chief financial officer Andrew Findlay through company’s voting. In a statement, he also warned that he would take legal action against directors if the British airliner ended up buying Airbus’ fleet considering his promises to meet other financial commitments.
The airline officials said that the company had received notices from UBS Private Banking Nominees and Vidacos Nominees to summon a general meeting to remove Findlay and non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth. EasyJet said that holding a general shareholders’ meeting, however, would be a complete distraction from its focus on managing its finances at a time when it has no revenue due to the grounded of all its planes.
Haji-Ioannou reflected, “If a penny of easyJet’s monies goes to Airbus whilst easyJet defaults on other future financial obligations (repayment of the UK government loan in March 2021), I will personally make sure that any scoundrels responsible will go to jail for breach of their fiduciary duties.” Meanwhile, he also opposed to a 600 million pound loan easyJet has taken out under a UK government scheme.
Proposed to Cancel Order from Airbus
Haji-Ioannou, who owns the biggest shares in EasyJet airliner, explained that buying new jets would be an insignificant move of the company considering the crippling impact of the coronavirus pandemic on air travel. He added that the order price of 4.5 billion pounds ($5.5 billion) would be a key financial strength for the firm’s survival.
An easyJet spokeswoman said by email, “We remain absolutely focused on removing expenditure from the business, engaging with all of our business partners and suppliers including Airbus, and on safeguarding jobs and short-term liquidity.” Meanwhile, the airline officials said that accessing the government’s COVID Corporate Finance Facility was in the best interests of the company and Findlay had the board’s full support.
Haji-Ioannou, whose family owns a third of easyJet’s shares, was critical of the proposed move of buying Airbus and easyJet’s strategy to buy more planes at large even before the coronavirus effects begun. A source reported that the due amount for the Airbus order was significantly less. Nevertheless, EasyJet said it understood that Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup was the ultimate beneficial holder of the shares exercised by those two investment firms.
I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.
You can reach out to me at: [email protected]