By Adriano Marchese and Ian Walker
-- Stelios Haji-Ioannou says easyJet and Airbus have a lack of transparency regarding the 107 aircraft order.
-- A deferral, he said, isn't acceptable for a company which will have zero revenue over the next six months.
-- The Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur said he would write the U.K.'s market watchdog to force easyJet to disclose the details of the deal with Airbus.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder and owner of the easyGroup Holdings, said Thursday that he would seek to force easyJet PLC to disclose dealings with, and payments to, Airbus SE.
Mr. Haji-Ioannou also accused easyJet and Airbus of issuing a statement to "puff up the share price for the short-term" on the eve of Good Friday's four-day weekend.
Earlier Thursday, easyJet said it had reached an agreement with Airbus for the net deferral of 24 aircraft deliveries from years 2020, 2021 and 2022.
EasyGroup Holdings Ltd., the private investment vehicle of Mr. Haji-Ioannou, wants easyJet to cancel the 4.5 billion euro ($4.89 billion) Airbus aircraft order, saying the company couldn't afford the 107 aircraft as the payment dwarfed easyJet's 2.4 billion pound ($2.96 billion) market capitalization.
"They are not being transparent with their investors and they are putting at risk GBP600 million pounds of U.K. taxpayers' money by paying Airbus during the next six months of zero revenues," Mr. Haji-Ioannou said.
Mr. Haji-Ioannou added that the deferral was for only a portion of the new aircraft orders, and the deferral was "the same as kicking the can down the road."
He also said the companies didn't tell investors the number of Airbus aircraft that easyJet is set to purchase and how much the company will pay per aircraft during the next six months "using U.K. taxpayers money."
Mr. Haji-Ioannou said he would write to the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority to force easyJet to disclose the details of its payments to Airbus in the name of transparency with their investors.
Earlier Thursday, easyJet said it will call a general meeting as requested by easyGroup, but advised shareholders to take no action at this time.
EasyGroup has twice written to the easyJet board seeking the removal first of nonexecutive director Andreas Bierwirth and most recently the removal of Chief Financial Officer Andrew Findlay.
The letters followed threats to remove one nonexecutive director every seven weeks until easyGroup finds "directors willing and able to carry out their duties to protect the company by terminating and if necessary renegotiating the Airbus contract."
The airline has already said that it fully supports Mr. Findlay and disputed the Airbus aircraft order figures, saying it would be "significantly less" than EUR4.5 billion.
"I strongly believe the directors of easyJet are in breach of the market abuse regulations by not disclosing the payments made and to be made from easyJet to Airbus this year," Mr. Haji-Ioannou said.
"I consider this to [be] scandalous," he added.
Write to Adriano Marchese at email@example.com and Ian Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org