To Press Releases listVevey,October 23, 2001
Nestlé S.A. will take a participation of up to CHF 100 million in the new Swiss airline, fully expecting this investment to yield a return to its shareholders after the initial launch phase. The project appears to be based on a reasoned, viable business plan, with a fair chance of attaining its objectives. Nestlé will assume no responsibility of any kind at management or board level of the airline. Nestlé sees its limited investment in the new venture in the following context: ·
As all internationally active corporations based in Switzerland, Nestlé needs frequent intercontinental airline connections. · Nestlé is often identified by authorities and consumers as a Swiss corporation whose products stand for quality and reliability. The company cannot be indifferent to the quality of the image of Switzerland abroad which would have substantially suffered from the inability to find a constructive solution. · Nestlé is an international company with a substantial Swiss shareholding and it is based in Switzerland. As such, it does not operate in a vacuum and is well aware of the social, political and economic environment in which it functions. Participating in an effort that encompasses all the major players in the Swiss economy, is consistent with the position it occupies in its country of origin as well as with its attitude of responsible corporate citizenship.
During the earlier attempts to solve the difficulties resulting from the impending failure of Swissair, Nestlé has consistently signaled that, in view of its responsibility vis-à-vis its own shareholders, it would not commit shareholders' funds on a gratuitous base, simply to "rescue" Swissair. Over the past weeks, however, the Swiss government as well as representatives of the Swiss economy, discussed the creation of a new Swiss airline that would ensure that Switzerland remains well served with intercontinental flights and that the existing infrastructures would continue to function. Nestlé's small minority stake in the new venture corresponds to about three percent of the Nestlé Group's yearly investment volume in fixed assets.