Monarch confirms strategic review

All parts of Monarch Group’s operations are subject to a sweeping strategic review, which is expected to lead to significant changes in the ownership structure.

The company confirmed that it is reviewing “all areas of the business from operations to ownership and financing”.

The statement came after The Sunday Telegraph revealed that a number of investors, including venture capitalist Jon Moulton’s Better Capital, HIG Europe, Towerbrook and Indigo Capital, are considering injecting cash into the company, which is controlled by the Swiss billionaire Mantegazza family.

Monarch is understood to need as much as £60 million of fresh capital, despite the Mantegazzas pumping £120 million into the group since 2009.

Dean Street Advisers is leading the search for an external investor but the Mantegazzas have also appointed restructuring specialists from PwC, who are working on a rescue plan in case Monarch is unable to strike a deal to bring in fresh capital, the newspaper reported.

Monarch said in a statement: “The group confirms it is undergoing a strategic review under the leadership of new non-executive chairman Sir Roy McNulty and chief executive Andrew Swaffield.

“The review covers all areas of the business from operations to ownership and financing, with the objective of determining the optimum structure to realise the significant opportunity to build on the respected Monarch brand and distinctive offer to its customers in the budget airline market.”

A spokesman for Amerald Investments said the company, which is controlled by the Mantegazza family was “fully supportive” of the new management team’s plans for Monarch, which include introducing “a new investor and the provision of new capital,” according to The Times.

Monarch needs funding to support an order for 30 new Boeing 737 aircraft worth $3.1 billion and its ambition to outdo easyJet and Ryanair on customer service.

Recently departed  executive chairman Iain Rawlinson turned the airline from mostly a charter carrier into an operator of scheduled flights. The airline carries seven million passengers a year to 38 destinations, mainly in the Mediterranean.

Monarch, which operates mainly from Gatwick, Luton, Manchester and Birmingham airports, said in December last year that it was back in the black but competition in the European airline industry has since intensified.

The group made a profit of £5.9 million on sales of £957 million last year.

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