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Continental Airlines tells employees it won't seek merger


DALLAS (AP) -- Continental Airlines Inc. said Sunday it would not pursue a combination with another
carrier right away, a surprising move after weeks of growing speculation that it would join with
United Airlines to create the world's biggest airline.

Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Lawrence Kellner said in a message to employees that the
Houston-based airline was better off alone than merging.

"We have significant cultural, operational and financial strengths compared to the rest of the
industry, and we want to protect and enhance those strengths -- which we believe would be placed at
risk in a merger with another carrier in today's environment," Kellner told employees.

Although it reported an $80 million loss in the first quarter, Continental is widely viewed as the
second-strongest U.S. carrier in financial terms, behind only Southwest Airlines Co., which has
indicated it isn't interested in a merger.

Continental's decision stunned United's parent, UAL Corp., which had been in advanced talks with
Continental and expected to complete a deal by early May.

But last week, UAL reported a $537 million loss in the first quarter -- its biggest loss since
emerging from bankruptcy in 2006, and larger than Wall Street expected. UAL's stock market value
plunged 35 percent.

Glenn Tilton, UAL's chairman and CEO, signaled late Sunday that he would still pursue mergers even
after Continental's pullout.

"Consolidation is underway -- ensuring you have the right partner is everything," Tilton
said in a statement. "We will pursue all options to ensure a strong, sustainable future for
our airline and will not shy away from the tough choices necessary to create value for our
shareholders and benefit our employees and customers."

Ray Neidl, an analyst with Calyon Securities, said Continental's exit leaves US Airways Group Inc.
as a potential merger partner for United.

The CEOs of United and US Airways are both vocal proponents of airline mergers. But US Airways lacks
the strong international routes that made Continental an attractive partner.

A US Airways spokesman declined to comment.

While Kellner ruled out a merger for the time being, Continental appeared to leave the door open to
an alliance with another carrier. The airline has reportedly discussed such an arrangement with AMR
Corp., the parent of American Airlines, in which the companies would work together in many ways but
not merge their operations.

Airlines have been considering consolidation as a way to cut costs and raise fares in the face of
record fuel prices. Delta Air Lines Inc. announced earlier this month it has agreed to buy Northwest
Airlines Corp. in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's largest carrier. A
Continental-United combination would have trumped Delta-Northwest in size.

"Every U.S. carrier, including Continental, is under enormous pressure from record high fuel
prices, a slowing U.S. economy and a weak dollar," Kellner told employees. "In today's
harsh environment, we must continue to adjust our business model to ensure we successfully navigate
through these difficult times, so that in the future we can once again grow and prosper."

Continental expects to spend $1.2 billion more on fuel this year than it did in 2007. To cope with
the added cost, the airline plans to take some older, less-fuel-efficient planes out of service over
the next 12 months and to reduce its U.S. capacity by 5 percent beginning this fall.

A spokesman for Continental's union pilots said pilots were pleased that the company won't pursue
a merger, given the weak condition of other carriers. UAL, for example, lost $537 million in the
first quarter and announced it would cut 1,100 jobs.

"We are somewhat relieved," said the union spokesman, Mark Adams. "We look around
at the first-quarter financials from the other legacy carriers. Do you really want to swim out to a
drowning man and just get pulled down with them?"

Kellner had long said Continental would prefer to remain independent -- if the landscape of the
airline industry stayed the same.

But Kellner opened the door to merger speculation this month by saying that the Delta deal had
changed the landscape, and by exercising a right to buy out Northwest's veto power over a
Continental merger -- although that move cost only $100 once Northwest agreed to be purchased by

Continental and its regional subsidiaries operate about 3,100 daily flights. Continental has major
hubs in Newark, N.J., Houston and Cleveland.

โดย : มหาเมฆ IP : [ 28/04/2008 , 10:56:59 ]

ความคิดเห็นที่ : 1

แนวโน้มอาจจะมีการควบรวมกิจการของสายการบินกันอีก 1 คู่
่แข่งมาเป็นความร่วมมือจึงเป็นอีกวิธีการนึง /// ทำงานเพื่อบริษัทแยะๆ
ช่วยกันทำงานอย่างเต็มที่นึกถึงส่วนรวมให้มาก จะได้ไม่ต้องประสบปัญหาภายหลัง

โดย : มหาเมฆ IP : [ 28/04/2008 , 11:01:53 ]

ความคิดเห็นที่ : 2

ถามความคิดเห็น และความน่าจะเป็นน่ะครับ ว่าการควบรวมกิการ
สายการบินในประทศไทยจะมีความเป็นไปได้ไหมครับอย่าง การบินไทยเทกโอเวอร์บางกอกแอร์ หรือแอร์ไลน์อื่นๆๆ

โดย : ben IP : [ 28/04/2008 , 14:41:14 ]

ความคิดเห็นที่ : 3

สายการบินอื่นๆ เป็นไปได้หมด เพราะว่าเป็นเอกชน เช่น Bangkok airways จะไป take over
สายการบินอื่นที่ไม่ใช่การบินไทย น่าจะเป็นไปได้ แต่ถ้าการบินไทยไป take over
สายการบินอื่นที่เป็นเอกชนคงลำบากเพราะการบินไทยเป็นรัฐวิสาหกิจ ก็คงจะโดนกล่าวหาว่าไปอุ้มสายการบินอื่น
แต่ไม่ใช่ว่าเป็นไปไม่ได้ทีเดียว อะไรๆก็เกิดได้ถ้ารัฐบาลสั่ง เพราะรัฐบาลเป็นผู้ถือหุ้น มากกว่า 70%

ดูอย่าง ปตท ยังไปซื้อสวนปาล์มที่อินโดนีเซียได้เลย ใช้เงินไปประมาณ 700 ล้านบาท (ผมเห็นด้วยนะ)

โดย : prawit IP : [ 28/04/2008 , 15:05:19 ]

ความคิดเห็นที่ : 4


โดย : เห็นนะ IP : [ 28/04/2008 , 20:38:47 ]

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