Reports are surfacing in the European press that an unnamed US investor is trying to resurrect bankrupt all-cargo carrier Air Cargo Germany (ACG). While the sources (links provided below) seem credible, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which ACG will perform much differently than it has in the past, particularly given reports that two of the four 747-400 freighters it operated have been returned to Martinair (from which ACG was sub-leasing them).
Be that as it may, a report in TransportoEuropa says the company handling the bankruptcy has confirmed that discussions between the US investor and ACG executives have taken place. But the outcome is not clear, and a further report from Airliners.de indicates that the talks have broken off as ACG’s existing shareholders (including Moscow-based Volga-Dnepr Group) cannot reach agreement with the potential new investor.
One obvious roadblock to any new investment is that Volga-Dnepr’s stake is 49% – the maximum foreign ownership allowed by EU law. So, any new foreign investment would have to be balanced by a reduction in Volga-Dnepr’s stake – that is, either the new investor would have buy some of that stake directly, or Volga-Dnepr would have to sell to an EU-based investor.
However, the real question is not how a new investment might be structured, but rather how ACG could operate profitably now when it could not do so in the past. Particularly if its fleet – small to begin with – has been cut by half. The main-deck air freight business has only become tougher over the past few years, and making a go of it with just two 747-400 freighters will not be easy. Of course it is possible that the mystery investor is a US charter or ACMI operator looking for a European base from which it could use its own aircraft on routes made possible through ACG’s traffic rights, but that is pure speculation.
Here are links to the reports we have seen so far. If any of our readers has more information, please make a comment below.
For more background, see our previous posts on ACG, including: http://cargofacts.net/profiles/blogs/game-over-for-air-cargo-germany