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Delta says SkyTeam could invest more in JAL - WSJ

11.20.09, 11:23 PM EST

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Delta Air Lines Inc says the SkyTeam alliance of global carriers would be willing to invest more than its proposed $1.02 billion in Japan Airlines, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The final proposed investment into JAL by the nine-airline SkyTeam alliance could be 'greater than what we've stated' thus far, Richard Anderson said in an interview on Friday with the newspaper.

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'When you get that value, it can be financeable. You create a lot more value, and together parties can figure out how to monetize that value,' Anderson was quoted as saying.

Atlanta-based Delta and its SkyTeam partners are trying to persuade the Japanese carrier to defect from the rival Oneworld alliance of airlines to expand their share of the lucrative travel markets in Japan and Asia, the report said.

AMR Corp ( AMR - news - people )'s American Airlines, a member of Oneworld, has said it and private-equity partner TPG also are willing to inject an undisclosed amount of money into JAL, which is undergoing a restructuring after several quarters of losses.

Delta, the world's largest carrier by traffic, said this week it was prepared to inject $500 million into JAL from SkyTeam in addition to a $300 million revenue guarantee, $200 million in asset-backed funding and $20 million or more in transition costs if JAL agrees to switch to SkyTeam.

'This is the first top-line revenue opportunity that has been presented to JAL,' Anderson told the Journal.

He said neither Delta nor its SkyTeam partners are interested in a board seat or management representation at JAL. 'We don't need to manage anybody. We don't want to and don't expect to,' the report quoted him as saying.

The Delta CEO said SkyTeam was unlikely to link up with a private-equity group as it tries to woo JAL. 'We have had many inquiries from other third parties that would be interested,' said Anderson. Nonetheless, he added, 'we're focused on a SkyTeam strategic investment.'

Delta Air Lines ( DAL - news - people ) was not immediately available to comment on the report on Friday night.

(Reporting by Steve James; Editing by Carol Bishopric) Keywords: JAL/DELTA

(steve.james@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646-223-6013; Reuters Messaging: steve.james.reuters.com@reuters.net)

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