US Airways chief executive Doug Parker confirmed that his carrier has hired advisors to examine a possible takeover bid of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp. Parker's comments came during US Airways' fourth quarter earnings call with investors and Wall Street analysts this morning.
"Before we get to questions, I am aware that there is a good bit of speculation about our company and as it relates to AMR's bankruptcy and I am aware that there are therefore questions you guys may want to ask because indeed you are paid to speculate. But in an effort to head some of that off and keep us on the focus of the day, which is our earnings and not speculation, I'm gonna just.. I've got a little statement here to read that I'll do and I'll tell you what I can and if you guys would hopefully use that as the answer to all the questions you may have because that's going to be my answer to the questions you may have. We'll try to do it that way and head off any questions so...at any rate...
"I know part of the reason for the speculation has been US Airways' historical comments on consolidation, being such proponents of consolidation and the fact is we have been on record for a long time about the need for this industry to start earning a fair return on invested capital. And we've been on record that one of the ways to fix this problem is through consolidation. That being said the reality is a large amount of consolidation has already occurred in our business. We have a much less fragmented industry than we did when we merged America West and US Airways in 2005 and that industry consolidation has been a major contributor to the improved results that you see today at US Airways and throughout our industry.
"And furthermore, as today's results show, US Airways does not need to participate in consolidation. Our employees are running a terrific standalone airline and we're generating financial returns that are similar too or better than our larger peers. We're extremely proud that the hard work of our team has gotten us into a position where we can control our own destiny. We can now decide whether it's best for US Airways to operate as a standalone company or participate in further consolidation over time and that's what we intend to do.
"So while it's no longer imperative that our industry consolidate and its definitely not imperative that US Airways participate in consolidation, we, of course, are always interested in studying potential value-enhancing opportunities and part of studying these opportunities is ensuring we have good counsel. Therefore, as has been reported, we have indeed retained Barclays Capital, Millstein and Co., and Latham & Watkins to help us explore our options as they relate to AMR's bankruptcy. We expect AMR will remain in bankruptcy for quite sometime and therefore we anticipate that we and our advisors will be studying the situation for quite sometime. And while we're studying the situation we do not expect there will be any major developments and we certainly have nothing to report today."