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The shares will come down the first week in January, after trading for more than 70 years on the exchange. NYSE said AMR was "no longer suitable for listing" because the company's shares had fallen below the exchange's minimum requirements. Its average closing price has fallen below $1 for more than 30 days. The decision comes after AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of November.
Regularly scheduled bankruptcy seems to be the new norm for American carriers. Many of AMR's peers went through it already and were consequently able to reduce burdensome labor costs such as union contracts and pensions. AMR narrowly avoided it in 2003, but maybe should have just gotten it over with along with everyone else. Carriers who filed previously include:
- US Airways (NYSE: LCC ) in 2002 and 2004.
- United (NYSE: UAL ) in 2002.
- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL ) in 2005.
But even if AMR successfully emerges from bankruptcy, equity investors will likely be wiped out during the restructuring, as bondholders typically have the first call on assets. In its bankruptcy filing, AMR said it had assets of about $25 billion and liabilities of about $30 billion.
AMR said investors would likely be able to continue to trade its securities using the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets electronic quotation service. Trading securities in bankrupt companies is highly speculative, however, and is not something we at The Motley Fool recommend.