Qantas chairman renews criticism on foreign ownership cap

    Qantas Airways chairman Leigh Clifford renewed criticism of the airline’s foreign ownership cap in the Qantas Sale Act, which caps foreign ownership at 49%, saying it could make it harder to fund a fleet overhaul and purchase ultra long haul aircraft (SMH, 05-Jan-2018). “We haven’t got a particular need at the moment, but at some stage we’re going to have to dramatically renew the fleet”, Mr Clifford said, adding: “At some stage we’re going to have to replace the [Airbus] 380s … and [CEO] Alan [Joyce] has talked of the challenge we’ve put out to Airbus and Boeing for long range aircraft. Well, these don’t come cheaply”. Foreign ownership stood at 46.7% as of 15-Dec-2017, with a breach of the limit triggering a forced sell down of shares on a “last in, first out” basis. “We’re marketing Qantas as a stock to the world, and when we reach up near that cap it discourages foreign purchases of shares”, Mr Clifford said, adding: “I can understand why people would be concerned by foreign control, and we’re not ever suggesting that, but I think Qantas needs to have scope such that foreign buyers can buy Qantas shares”.