Singapore Airlines' offer price for Tigerair "not reasonable": SIAS

A Tigerair plane (foreground) and a Singapore Airlines plane at Changi Airport.
A Tigerair plane (foreground) and a Singapore Airlines plane at Changi Airport. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE - The Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) has called Singapore Airlines' offer price for listed subsidiary Tiger Airways "not reasonable", and urged Tigerair's board to ensure that minority shareholders get a fair return.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), which owns 55.8 per cent of Tigerair, is offering S$0.41 in cash per share for each share it does not own, with an eye to taking it private.

SIA's offer price is 32.3 per cent higher than the budget carrier's closing price of 31 cents on Nov 5, the day before the offer was made.

But the price is also 39 per cent lower than what long-term minority shareholders paid for Tigerair shares since its 2010 listing, wrote SIAS president and chief executive David Gerald in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 24).

"A Tiger Airways' shareholder, who held on to his IPO (initial public offering) shares that was bought for S$1.50 a share and subscribed to all three rights issues since IPO, would have paid an average of S$0.67 a share," he said. "(SIA's) offer, the minority feels, is not reasonable."

Mr Gerald also noted that in 2013, SIA had bought out Temasek Holdings' 7 per cent stake in Tigerair for 67.8 cents apiece.

That same year, minority shareholders approved a whitewash waiver for SIA to become controlling shareholder of Tigerair without making a mandatory general offer. SIA bought perpetual convertible securities that were eventually converted to shares at S$0.565 apiece last year.

"While SIAS understands that the current market conditions are different, the minority shareholders' interest must be taken into account," Mr Gerald wrote.

"Therefore, SIAS calls upon the board of Tiger Airways to carefully review the SIA offer to ensure that the minority is dealt with fairly."

SIA is also offering Tigerair shareholders an option to subscribe for SIA shares at S$11.1043 apiece, a 0.4 per cent discount to SIA's closing price of S$11.15 on Nov 5.

Mr Gerald advised minority shareholders to wait for the report from the independent financial adviser appointed by Tigerair to determine the fairness of the offer.

marilee@sph.com.sg