Republic, Indigo to proceed with Frontier deal

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Republic Airways Holdings Inc. on Wednesday said it was going forward with the $145 million sale of Frontier Airlines to Indigo Partners LLC.

The Indianapolis-based airline company also announced a third-quarter loss of $13.8 million due to an impairment charge related to aircraft valuation.

Phoenix-based Indigo’s planned acquisition of Frontier was put into question this week when Indigo failed to meet closing conditions before a key deadline. The private equity firm had set a Nov. 1 deadline for reaching agreements with Denver-based Frontier's flight attendant union and a group tied to its former pilots union,

It was still trying to reach an agreement with the flight attendant union this week. The companies announced the deal in early October.

Indigo informed Republic on Wednesday that it had satisfied or waived “certain key conditions to close” the transaction. The companies expect the deal to close later this month.

“The sale of Frontier will allow our management team to re-focus on our core business," Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said in a prepared statement accompanying the company's quarterly financial report. “We continue to be excited about the growth opportunities for our fixed-fee business.”

The third quarter loss of $13.8 million, or 26 cents per share, followed last year’s profit of $25.8 million, or 51 cents per share.

Republic said the impairment charge reduced earnings by $21.2 million.

Overall revenue ticked up slightly, to $338.6 million, compared with $337.4 million in the third quarter of 2012.

Republic Airways owns Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America. The airlines operate a combined fleet of more than 280 aircraft and offer scheduled passenger service to more than 145 cities.

Republic stock fell 2.6 percent Thursday morning, to $11.40 per share.



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