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Nov 19, 2012

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Working on the basis that a detailed report in the Australian Financial Review about a new private equity play involving Qantas is the smoke coming off a fire Senator Nick Xenophon (Independent SA) has fired off a media release headed Hobson’s Joyce.

Xenophon calls for Geoff Dixon to quit the role of Chair of Tourism Australia if in fact, as widely suggested in other media reports, he is a party to a new bid.

Dixon promoted the 2006-07 private equity bid for Qantas when he was its CEO, but which ultimately failed to attract sufficient support from investors.  Had that bid succeeded the highly leveraged state of Qantas that would have resulted would have ensure its destruction during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

Xenophon’s statement is published below on the basis that it is unlikely to get much traction in business media which is generally strongly influenced by financial analysts who make money from the selling of stocks no matter whether rising or falling, and couldn’t give a toss whether Qantas lives or dies.

Under Joyce it is dying. Under a private equity bid it might die even faster, although this writer disagrees with Xenophon to the extent that the strategic elements reported in the Australian Financial Review would make affordable sense if the current CEO and board were replaced by competent and engaged appointees.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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