Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fastjet acquires full brand rights for $2.5 million

African low-cost carrier (LCC) fastjet has paid $2.5 million to acquire the full intellectual property rights behind its brand from UK company easyGroup.

The fastjet brand was established in 2012 by easyGroup and Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who founded easyJet in 1995. Under the June 29 brand purchase agreement, Johannesburg-headquartered fastjet said it will make “significant savings” on royalties it would have paid over five years.

“I have accepted the view of the current board that the company should own its own brand rather than license it from me. I feel we have agreed to a fair price for its transfer,” Haji-Ioannou said.

The easyJet founder still holds around £1.3 million ($1.7 million) worth of fastjet shares. Haji-Ioannou is a vocal shareholder, but he is encouraged by the performance of the new management team.

“Brand development is an integral part of building a successful consumer facing business and represents a substantial investment for any airline—it logically follows that your brand, an asset to be leveraged for the benefit of shareholders, should be under your full control and ownership. We are happy to have reached agreement with Sir Stelios and appreciate the ongoing confidence he has expressed in the fastjet business and leadership team,” fastjet CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said.

Bezuidenhout added that fastjet is making “steady progress” with its turnaround, which has seen the company relocate from Gatwick to Johannesburg, shift from Airbus A319s to smaller Embraer E-Jets and rationalize its operations in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

“These steps are having the desired effect and accordingly fastjet aims to achieve a cash flow breakeven position for the final quarter of 2017. The company, aiming to leverage its relationship with Solenta Aviation Holdings, a strategic investor who acquired a shareholding in fastjet in January 2017 and who has an operational footprint in many African countries, is in the process of evaluating expansion options to further geographies and looks forward to making further announcements in due course,” fastjet said.

Dar es Salaam-based Fastjet Tanzania launched flights in November 2012 and now operates domestic flights to Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, and Mwanza, as well as international routes to Lusaka in Zambia and Harare in Zimbabwe. Fastjet Zimbabwe launched in October 2015 and now flies domestically from Harare to Victoria Falls, and internationally to Johannesburg in South Africa. Together, the airlines have flown over 2.5 million passengers.

“We are investigating several opportunities across the continent and plan to develop new markets and network points through prudent growth underpinned by sound commercial principles,” Bezuidenhout said.

(Victoria Moores - ATWOnline News)

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