Flight Centre Founders to Retain Control

Flight Centre Limited’s (FLT) founders and major shareholders have reaffirmed their intentions to retain control of the company.

The founders, managing director Graham Turner, Geoff Harris, Bill James, Jim Goldburg and Chris Greive, have reduced their combined holding to 56% of FLT’s issued shares, following the off-market sale of 1.75million shares late last week.

The group held more than 70% of FLT’s shares when the company listed in 1995 and has gradually reduced this holding in a series of transactions over the past 12 years.

Mr Turner said the sale was in line with the founders’ stated intentions to achieve liquidity for part of their holdings, while maintaining control of FLT.

This intention was outlined publicly during the privatisation proposal that shareholders rejected in February 2007.

“While the founders may occasionally choose to reduce their individual holdings, as has been the case historically and in accord with their personal circumstances, we do not anticipate any significant change in ownership or control of FLT,” Mr Turner said.

“Last week’s sale was of a similar scale to the founders’ historic trading pattern and it was pleasing to see the strong support from institutional and retail investors who took up the opportunity to increase their holdings or to join the register.”

On August 23, FLT released record profit and sales results for the 2006/07 financial year. In releasing its outlook for 2007/08, the company said it would target 10-15% total transaction value growth and bottom line profit growth in line with the TTV increase following a good start to the year and the momentum gained during the second half of 2006/07.