'Qantas Could Go Under,' says CEO Joyce
The Flying Kangaroo may disappear from Australia’s skies if the state-owned Etihad invests in Virgin Australia to the point where Qantas’ profitable domestic routes are disrupted.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Etihad is understood to be considering a 10 per cent ownership share of Virgin after purchasing nearly 5 per cent last week. Virgin Group owns 26 per cent of the airline, and Air New Zealand has 19.9 per cent, said SkyNews Australia.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is in Canberra this week, reportedly lobbying for limitations to be implemented on UAE-backed Etihad’s purchase of Virgin shares.
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''Virgin/Etihad will be able to flood the market with capacity until its competition is forced to significantly reduce its own operations or worse,” Qantas said, according to documents obtained by Fairfax Media.
As an alternative option, he is pushing for the restraints of the 1992 Qantas Sale Act to be lifted in order to help level the competition between the two airlines. Under the Act, foreign investment is capped at 49 per cent, total ownership by foreign airlines is capped at 35 per cent, and no more than a 25 per cent stake may be purchased by a single foreign investor, the SMH said.
If action is not taken, Qantas warned, “we could go under.”
Etihad has also recently invested in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus, SkyNews Australia reported.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.