JAL shares down 24% as bankruptcy worries mount

Written by Bloomberg | Updated: Jan 1 2010, 04:03am hrs
Japan Airlines Corp plunged to a record in Tokyo trading on speculation the company may seek bankruptcy, even as the nations transport minister said other options remain for the unprofitable carrier.

Asias biggest airline by sales fell 24% to close at 67 yen, the lowest level since the shares began trading in October 2002. The volume of shares sold surged to a record and was nine times the daily average for the past three months. Shareholders are becoming convinced that bankruptcy will be the case, said Mitsushige Akino, who manages the equivalent of $450 million at Tokyo-based Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. They are dumping the stock. JALs value will be zero if it goes bankrupt.

Members of Japans Cabinet will meet at 6 pm to discuss the airlines future, transport minister Seiji Maehara said on Wednesday. Any plan to rescue the carrier will require agreement from stakeholders, and bankruptcy isnt the only option, he said.