Cyprus Air plans mid-07 rights issue

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus Airways plans a 15-million-Cyprus pound ($32.67 million) rights issue in 2007 to raise liquidity levels, the ailing carrier said yesterday. The issue, tentatively slated for June 2007, would not dilute the present 70 percent shareholding of the state, Chairman Lazaros Savvides said. «The government has decided to retain the percentage it presently controls,» Savvides told a news conference. The rights shares would be distributed to stakeholders on a pro-rata basis, and would also be offered to the broader public if existing individual shareholders failed to exercise their option, he said. The carrier is now awaiting emergency government-backed financial aid to push through a restructuring scheme. The airline posted a 25.6-million-pound pre-tax loss in the first half of the year. The losses include non-recurring exceptionals. Second-half results, which incorporate the peak tourist season, were expected to show an improvement with lower losses, Christos Kyriakides, the carrier’s general manager, said. The group restructure includes redundancies, spin-offs and outsourcing. About a fifth of its work force are being made redundant this year.