Fastjet’s Kenya fight deepens

Marion Dakers
RELATIONS between Aim-listed airline Fastjet and the head of its Kenyan subsidiary have soured further in the past week, with both sides now turning to legal action in a dispute over the terms of their tie-up.

Don Smith, who agreed to sell most of his holding in Fly540 Kenya to Fastjet last year, instructed law firm Salans to write to Fastjet boss Ed Winter on Friday.

The letter, seen by City A.M., asks Winter to set out the details of what he has described in statements to the market as undisclosed historic debt within Fly540.

Winter said in February that Fastjet, which is backed by EasyGroup’s Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, was working with creditors to iron out what the firm might owe on these debts and other warranties involved in the deal.

Fastjet’s purchase of Fly540 Kenya remains incomplete, with buyer and seller both urging the other side to fulfil the conditions set out in last June’s deal.

The pan-African airline is seeking a High Court ruling to force through the transaction.

Smith travelled to London from Kenya last week to try and meet for mediation with the Fastjet board. At the same time, Winter and other executives had travelled to Johannesburg to agree a deal to take over low cost airline 1time.

Fastjet said in a statement yesterday: “The company does not intend to comment on matters which are subject to imminent legal proceedings.

“As previously stated, Fastjet is seeking a declaration that it has fulfilled its obligations under the sale and purchase agreement made between Fastjet plc and Don Smith last year.”