The Connect Airways consortium, which includes Stobart Group’s aviation division, has completed the takeover of Flybe.

The takeover of the troubled airline was granted court approval at the end of last week and a copy of the court order delivered to the Registrar of Companies on Monday, completing the acquisition.

The completion comes after two crunch votes, including one which saw shareholders vote 179 for and 105 against the deal.

And in its first move as sole registered shareholder, Connect Airways – which also includes Virgin Atlantic and investment firm DLP Holdings Sarl – has postponed indefinitely a general meeting due to be held next week.

The move denies a platform to minority shareholders who opposed the 1p per share deal, which equates to £2.2 million, and follows the £2.8m share purchase agreement between Flybe and Connect Airways already completed on February 22.

Dealings in Flybe shares have now been suspended from the London Stock Exchange.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Flybe said: “The Scheme having now become effective, Connect Airways will be the sole registered shareholder of the Company at the voting record time of the requisitioned general meeting convened for 22 March 2019 (the "Requisitioned Meeting"). 

“Accordingly, persons who were Flybe Shareholders before the Scheme became effective will not be eligible to attend or vote at the Requisitioned Meeting and should not travel to, return forms of proxy, or otherwise attempt to vote, in relation to the resolutions set out in the notice of, the Requisitioned Meeting as their votes will not be counted. 

“Connect Airways, as sole shareholder, intends to procure that the Requisitioned Meeting is adjourned indefinitely.”

One of the affected shareholders is Cumbrian businessman Andrew Tinkler. 

The tycoon offered a capital injection and replacement of funding should the Connect Airways deal fall through. The move sparked a strongly worded letter from Flybe’s Board to shareholders that they would wind up the company if they did not vote the deal through.

Despite the rebuff, Mr Tinkler returned just a few weeks later as part of an investor group led by Bateleur Capital LLC and United States-based Mesa Air Group Inc, with support from other “un-named institutional shareholders” for another capital injection and replacement of funding offer in the event of the Connect Airways deal failing.

Again, the Flybe Board reiterated its stance that the Connect Airways deal was in the best interest of shareholders.

Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Aviation each own 30 per cent of Connect Airways, with DLP Holdings Sarl the remaining 40 per cent.
The takeover will see Virgin Atlantic operate a network of regional flights provided by a combination of Flybe and Stobart Air.

Flybe has 78 planes operating from smaller airports including London City, Southampton and Norwich, carrying around eight million passengers to destinations across the UK and Europe.