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Thu 1 May 2008 01:29 AM

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Silverjet saved by mystery UAE backer

Unnamed Middle East investor stumps up $25mn to keep last remaining business class airline flying.

Silverjet saved by mystery UAE backer
BAILED OUT: Loss-making carrier Silverjet said it had raised $25 million in debt and equity from a UAE investor.

Business-class airline Silverjet said on Wednesday it had found a Middle East investor to inject a live-saving $25 million into the loss-making carrier.

The company, the last-remaining business-only airline following the recent collapses of Eos and Maxjet , said the debt and equity bail-out could be followed by a further $75 million from the unnamed UAE investor, who will take a 28% stake in the group.

The airline, which flies from London to Dubai and New York, did not identify its saviour, but said it was an investment fund rather than an individual, and that it remained in takeover talks despite the cash injection.

CEO Lawrence Hunt said: "This investment places Silverjet in a strong position to further develop our brand and proposition. It is particularly encouraging to have secured this agreement in a challenging environment for all airlines. The support of this investor demonstrates the strength of Silverjet's exclusively business class model."

According to Hunt, the airline achieved its highest monthly sales in March, and is planning new routes into India, South Africa and the US.

“That’s what the $100 million is partly for … We need regulatory approval, which we are waiting on,” he said in an interview with newswire Reuters.

UK-based Eos Airlines filed for bankruptcy on Saturday, following in the footsteps of Maxjet, which shut down in December 2007.

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