The board backs its chairman despite shareholder efforts to oust him and start an investigation into the Virgin sale process.
The board of the struggling regional carrier Flybe has given the group’s chairman, Simon Laffin, its full support despite an attempt by the airline’s biggest shareholder to oust him, TTG and Sky News report.
After showing interest in Flybe late last year, a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium called Connect Airways, also comprising Stobart Group and private equity firm Cyrus Capital, made an offer for the embattled UK-based carrier earlier this month and laid out their plans for the airline.
The deal was later revised up to £2.8 million (€3.23 million) to allow the consortium to keep Flybe afloat with an immediate cash injection of £10 million.
This revision to the initial deal did not need shareholder approval and angered Flybe’s largest shareholder Hosking Partners, which owns around 19% of the airline.
Hosking is reported to have written to Flybe demanding an extraordinary general meeting to install Eric Kohn, an experienced aviation executive, in place of Laffin and to launch an investigation into the sale process.
In an update issued this morning, Flybe’s board acknowledged Hosking’s request but threw its collective weight behind Laffin, describing this as an “extremely difficult and challenging period” for the airline.
“Flybe Group plc notes the recent media reporting that Hosking Partners LLP has requested the company to convene a general meeting to consider resolutions to appoint Eric Kohn as a director and remove Simon Laffin as a director,” the update reads.
“The company confirms that on Friday (January 25) it received correspondence from Hosking Partners LLP to this effect which also included a proposed resolution the directors appoint Mr Kohn to investigate the sales process from November 14, 2018, to January 15, 2019.”
It continues: “The board reaffirms it has acted at all times in the interests of its shareholders and all its stakeholders, through an extremely difficult and challenging period. The board continues to have full confidence in its chairman, Simon Laffin, and believes that any independent scrutiny of its conduct will support the board’s decision-making.”