Airline Projects 10% Growth Over Next Three Years
Midwest Air Group,
Incorporated -- parent company of Midwest Airlines -- declined a
proposed merger agreement with AirTran Holdings yesterday.
According to Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief executive
officer, the Midwest Air Group board of directors spent
considerable time and effort evaluating AirTran's offer of $11.25
per share in cash and AirTran stock. As part of Midwest's
evaluation, the board engaged investment banking firms and an
outside consulting firm.
"During their comprehensive review, those advisors considered
the offer in light of Midwest's business and strategic plans,"
explained Hoeksema. "Under our strategic plan, we are projecting
annual capacity growth of more than 10% over the next three years
including a 50-seat regional jet program, along with significantly
greater growth in profitability. Additionally, we view AirTran's
offer at only about $5 per share, because it includes approximately
$6 per share in cash that already belongs to our shareholders."
The Midwest board determined that pursuing a merger with AirTran
would not be in the best interests of the company, its shareholders
and other stakeholders - including customers, employees and the
communities the airline serves.
"While it is the fiduciary obligation of the board of directors
to review credible offers, the board unanimously concluded that
Midwest's business plan as a stand-alone company would support a
considerably better return to our shareholders than AirTran's
offer," Hoeksema said. "We are successful because we provide
customers with an exceptional travel experience. Our product and
service are unique, and are not readily compatible with a merger
with another carrier."
Hoeksema added that employees of Midwest have been overwhelmed
by the groundswell of public support of the board's decision since
the news became public yesterday. "We are very fortunate to have
customers and shareholders who enthusiastically support our
decisions and appreciate our efforts to provide 'The best care in
the air.' We are very proud to be Milwaukee's hometown
Midwest Airlines features jet service throughout the United
States and claims Milwaukee's most daily nonstop flights to major
destinations. Catering primarily to business travelers and upscale
leisure travelers, the airline bills itself as "The best care in
Skyway Airlines, Inc. - Midwest's wholly owned subsidiary -
operates as Midwest Connect and offers connections to Midwest
Airlines as well as point-to-point service between select markets
on regional jet and turboprop aircraft. Together, the airlines
offer service to 47 cities.