Air France-KLM Firms Plan to Raise Funds Amid Travel Slump
(Bloomberg) — © Bloomberg A passenger aircraft operated by Air France-KLM taxis at Charles de
Air France-KLM is firming up a plan to raise funds by May of next year after agreeing a rescue package from the Dutch and French governments to help outlast the global aviation crisis.
The carrier “intends to implement measures to strengthen its equity and quasi-equity,” Air France-KLM said in a statement Tuesday, reiterating a timeline given previously by Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith. To lower financing costs, it’s redeeming 403.3 million euros ($483 million) in notes.
Air France-KLM, in which the two European states own a combined 28% stake, posted a record quarterly loss in July and is predicting “significantly negative” earnings in the second half. With passenger capacity not expected to recover until 2024, it is phasing out larger Airbus SE A380 and A340 jets.
At the end of June, Air France-KLM had 14.2 billion euros of liquidity and credit lines at its disposal, including 10.4 billion euros in government loans and guarantees. The bailout offered a lifeline for the carrier, which ranks second in Europe after Deutsche Lufthansa AG in terms of passenger traffic.
Air France-KLM “has some time, but right now not many options for fundraising,” said Yan Derocles, a Paris-based analyst at Oddo BHF. For the carrier to keep to a business plan set out in July, it will need to raise as much as 4 billion euros by around the start of 2022, he said.
As a measure of the challenges airlines are facing in capital markets, Finnair Oyj sold 200 million euros of hybrid bonds last month with a double-digit 10.25% coupon.
European travel picked up over the past two months after governments relaxed lockdown measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, though the pace of recovery has been slowed by renewed outbreaks in several parts of the continent.
Air France-KLM lifted its outlook on third-quarter capacity to 45% of available seat kilometers from a previous prediction of 20%. It expects 65% in the final three months of the year, though hasn’t yet announced its winter flight schedule.
The shares traded 2% lower at 4:45 p.m. in Paris, giving the airline a market value of 1.6 billion euros.
(Updates with analyst comment in fifth paragraph.)
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