Monarch investor Greybull would repay repatriation cost

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The former owner of the collapsed airline Monarch says it has a “moral obligation” to help repay the taxpayer if it profits from the sale of assets.

The government spent £60m getting passengers home after the UK’s fifth biggest airline went bust.

Now, Greybull Capital has pledged in a letter to the Transport Committee that it would help “defray the costs”.

But it is unclear if any profit will be made, as much depends on the future of Monarch’s lucrative airport slots.

Monarch’s administrators, KPMG, are seeking clarification in court about whether or not they have the right to sell the take-off and landing rights.

As Monarch’s main secured creditor, Greybull – run by brothers Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas and Richard Perlhagen – has first call on any cash realised from asset sales.

In a statement on Sunday, Greybull said: “We concur wholeheartedly with the secretary of state’s recent statement that any stakeholder who finds themselves in-pocket at the end of the administration process would be under a moral obligation to contribute to other stakeholders.

“This would include helping to defray the costs incurred by the Department for Transport in repatriating Monarch customers.

“This was first discussed in principle with the secretary of state and his department several weeks ago. We also agree with the secretary of state that it is premature to prejudge the outcome of the administration.”

Greybull’s letter to the committee, sent on 24 October and signed by Mr Meyohas, underlined the private equity firm’s commitment to “profit sharing with stakeholders”.

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Media captionFinal Monarch planes leave their base at London Luton Airport

This is why the firm felt a moral obligation to help foot the bill for the repatriation from any profits, Greybull said.

About 110,000 passengers were on holiday and booked to fly home when Monarch ceased trading at the start of October. The Civil Aviation Authority described efforts to return passengers to the UK as “the biggest peacetime repatriation effort”.

In addition, more than 2,000 people lost their jobs, with many still struggling to find work.

The job of selling Monarch’s assets and returning any money to creditors and investors is in the hands of KPMG.

The administrators maintain they have the right to sell the airport slots, reportedly worth about £60m, and have gone to court to establish this right.

“Given the complexity of the slot exchange process, we are seeking a judicial review on this particular matter,” Blair Nimmo, partner at KPMG, said in a statement on Friday.

Airport slots are assigned to airlines twice each year by Airport Coordination Limited. Slots can also be taken on by an airline in the event of a takeover.

In its letter to MPs, Greybull repeated its regret over the airline’s collapse. “We have acted responsibly and been a highly supportive shareholder of Monarch since 2014.

“We remain deeply sorry and saddened that circumstances beyond its control led to the failure of Monarch despite the best efforts of so many to turn around the company and the significant capital provided by Greybull to rescue Monarch from bankruptcy since 2014.”

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