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Texas International asks Continental shareholders for proxie

HOUSTON -- Texas International Airlines, pressing a promising bid for takeover of Continental Airlines, Wednesday asked Continental shareholders to join its fight against a proposed Continental merger with Western Airlines.

In a mailing, the Houston-based regional carrier asked Continental shareholders to give TIA their proxies to vote against the merger in a Continental stockholder vote Monday.

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Continental management favors the Western merger and has been fighting TIA's effort to substitute itself for Western. Texas International for years has been seeking a springboard to trunk carrier status by merging with a larger airline.

In its latest mailing, TIA listed arguments against the Western merger.

'Texas International has been profitable every year since 1976 and since 1972 has more than tripled its operating revenues and revenue passenger miles and has quadrupled the value of its assets,' the letter read.

'Continental has lost $54 million through operations in the last two years alone. Continental has been selling assets, including valuable aircraft, to offset these losses ...'

The letter charged Continental managers made TIA's $13 a share tender offer look 'inadequate' by revaluing assets from book to market value but failed to tell shareholders the same revaluation would discredit the deal with Western.

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TIA said if market rather than book value were used, Continental shareholders should get 1.65 shares in the merged company rather than the 1.165 shares proposed under the Continental-Western merger deal.

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