Air France-KLM Board Preparing to Meet Monday on State Rescue
Air France-KLM’s board is preparing to meet Monday to consider a recapitalization plan for its French arm, according to people familiar with the matter.
The multi-billion-euro package would be up for discussion after a deal was reached between the French government and the European Commission. The commission had antitrust concerns, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. A spokeswoman for Air France-KLM declined to comment.
France and the Netherlands own a combined 28% stake in Air France-KLM and have been in talks for months on a funding plan after granting the group 10.4 billion euros ($12.3 billion) in direct loans and state-backed guarantees last year. The carrier, whose net debt ballooned to 11 billion euros at the end of 2020, has said it’s planning to raise equity and quasi-equity.
During talks, France sought to soften Commission demands for measures aimed at boosting competition, including the surrender of coveted landing rights at Paris-Orly and Amsterdam Schiphol airports. The Netherlands has also pledged aid.
In a French radio interview on Monday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the negotiation “long and difficult” and said it was not yet finished. Any accord would be fair and protective for Air France, while guaranteeing the country’s interests and competition rules, he said.
Le Maire declined to reveal specific details, saying only that the deal would contain remedies “that are required to maintain fair competition between Air France and other companies” and isn’t about closing routes or cutting jobs.
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