EVERGREEN SET FOR 25 PERCENT STAKE IN MACAO LINE

EVERGREEN SET FOR 25 PERCENT STAKE IN MACAO LINE

Evergreen has agreed in principle to take 25 percent of a new airline in Macao, the Portuguese-administered enclave in southern China, company officials said Monday.

The move marks a further step in what appears to be a determined campaign to establish transport links with the mainland.Evergreen Marine Corp. operates the world's largest container fleet. It said its aviation subsidiary, Eva Airways Corp., should begin operating next March, about a year earlier than originally planned.

The Portuguese government asked Chang Yung-fa, chairman, to invest in the start-up Macao airline. It is scheduled to be launched by 1993, about the same time as the opening of an airport in the enclave, concentrating first on regional services.

As reported previously in The Journal of Commerce, the British unit of aviation consultant Avmark Inc. of Washington has the feasibility study for the airline.

In addition to Evergreen, the Portuguese government is talking to Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. about financial backing for the airline, according to a report in Taiwan's Commercial Times newspaper. Cathay officials were not available for immediate comment.

Evergreen also has disclosed that it will send a delegation to China in June to survey shipping and airline opportunities.

Officials confirmed they are considering the possibility of using its Panama-registered subsidiary to handle shipping between Japan and Shanghai as well as Hong Kong and Xiamen (Amoy) on the southeastern coast opposite Taiwan.

Evergreen International SA, established in Panama in 1975, operates 17 ships under the Panamanian flag.

The Taiwanese government has a ban on direct transportation to China.