Shares in U.K. traded Air Partner were suspended yesterday as it continues to work through accounting woes it says are not related to current trading
Note: Air Partner has provided a statement to Private Jet Card Comparisons at the end of this article.
Air Partner, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter, said it had agreed to suspend trading in its shares yesterday, according to multiple reports from the U.K. A report in The Telegraph, said Air Partner and its board had agreed with auditor Deloitte it would now not be able to publish its annual accounts until June 11 at the latest and requested the shares be suspended until then. Air Partner chairman Peter Saunders, commented the delay was “extremely frustrating and hugely disappointing,” continuing, “It is a reflection of the volume of work, which began seven weeks ago, to conclude a transparent, thorough, and exhaustive internal review and audit.”
On April 11 the company announced it had found an accounting error of approximately $4.7 million offering a statement about it, which in part noted, “Our review has made good progress, and is ongoing. At this stage, we believe that the total cumulative impact arising between the financial years ended 31 July 2011 and 31 January 2018 will not exceed £4m. The final amount will be confirmed to the market after completion of the review. In accordance with accounting practice, amounts relating to prior periods will be recorded as restatements of comparative financial information.”
The company has an attractive jet card program which starts at 10 hours and $47,000 for light jets and is fully refundable. It also has guaranteed availability and fixed one-way rates in North America, Europe and the Middle East primary service areas. However, there is no escrow option. It has previously pointed to the transparency of being a publicly traded company and its diversified businesses and ongoing government contracts as providing stability. The company has been in business since 1961 and Saunders said its current situation is “not related to the company’s current trading, cash flow, banking arrangements or any underlying issue”.
Air Partner Financial Results
In the most recent financial results available on its website representing the half year ending July 2017 it said gross profit had increased 12% to GBP 18.1 million ($24.1 million) with GBP 28.8 million, including GPB 13.4 non-jet card cash. It reported Gross Transaction Value at GPB 135.5 million.
We’ve reached out to Air Partner executives for further comment and to see if they are planning to consider an escrow option for jet cards in the future. This past Monday, ImagineAir, which operated a fleet of 14 CirrusSR22 props and sold on-demand charter and jet cards sent an email that it had suspended operations. Last September start-up Zetta Jet, which flew long-haul Bombardier Global Express jets, filed for Chapter 11 and then Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection amid accusations of fraud by its managing director. Air Partner sells a broker jet card, which means it sources aircraft from third-party charter operators and does not actually operate aircraft.
All reports related to Air Partner would indicate its current situation is an unintentional accounting error and the share suspension is related to delays in being able to publish amended results. Unfortunately, the day before it also posted a Father’s Day offer (above) of an “exclusive £1 million version Air Partner’s unbeatable JetCard (that) enables lucky cardholders to fly around the world four times over, or clock up a staggering 86,625 miles.” We think the promotion of such a big-ticket pay-in-advance product should be removed until Air Partner can provide audited and accurate accounts.
Statement from Air Partner provided to Private Jet Card Comparisons
Mark Briffa, CEO at Air Partner, said: “Air Partner has robust risk management practices and remains financially strong. On 11th April the Company reported that it currently maintains a strong balance sheet, with over £8.6m of its own cash at the end of March 2018 – excluding segregated client money. As at our interim results 31st July 2017 results, it reported sales of £135.5m and gross profit of £18.1m. None of our clients or suppliers have been affected by our accounting review, which is a full, detailed and transparent process. We continue to trade well, and remain confident that our products and services meet and exceed our loyal clients’ expectations.”
“JetCard deposit money is held in completely segregated bank accounts, ensuring that all client money is safe, not co-mingled with Air Partner’s cash, and managed in line with best practices.”