After Bonza bankruptcy: 777 Partners under pressure

Boeing 737-Max-8 (Photo: Mitchell R Hope).
Boeing 737-Max-8 (Photo: Mitchell R Hope).

After Bonza bankruptcy: 777 Partners under pressure

Boeing 737-Max-8 (Photo: Mitchell R Hope).
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The situation surrounding investor 777 Partners is taking a new turn as the company engages the services of B Riley Advisory Services, a division of B Riley Financial, to address “various operational challenges.” The move follows the collapse of Australian budget airline Bonza, in which 777 Partners held a majority stake.

According to a memo from 777 Partners obtained by the Financial Times, the company hired B Riley Advisory Services to help streamline the business and find the most profitable path for their investments. The move comes after 777 Partners sold almost all of its minority stake in Canadian LLC Flair Airlines last month.

Previously, the London asset management company Leadenhall Capital had sued 777 and its main shareholders Joshua Wander and Steven Pasko for fraud and operating a “gigantic shell game and, at worst, an outright pyramid scheme”. However, 777 Partners vehemently denies these allegations. Mark Shapiro, managing director of B Riley Advisory Services, has taken on the role of interim CEO amid reports that Wander and Pasko have been asked to resign.

Meanwhile, the first Boeing 737-8s placed at Bonza are leaving Australia after being seized by the lessors. This came after Bonza declared bankruptcy and the lessors refused to retract their notices. At the time of reporting, some of the planes were still in Australia, but they will depart soon.

Bonza is left with debts of over A$116 million and outstanding salaries for 324 employees. 777 Partners is one of Bonza's largest debtors, and funding from A-Cap, 777's lead backer, was terminated earlier this year. This meant that Bonza could no longer pay the leasing installments.

Around six parties are expected to be seriously interested in acquiring Bonza. VietJetAir was among the potential buyers, although it ultimately dropped out of talks without an offer.

With Bonza's aircraft seized and its reputation severely damaged, the company's most important asset remains its Australian Air Operator's Certificate. However, the certificate is only valid for the Boeing 737-8 aircraft type, which represents an additional hurdle for potential buyers.

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Editor of this article:

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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