Buenos Aires Times | Latam Airways reaches bankruptcy offer that palms reins to creditors

Latam Airways Group SA has attained a deal with key stakeholders that paves the way for the Chilean provider to slash debt and exit personal bankruptcy under new possession.

Latin America’s biggest airline strategies to increase all-around $5 billion by issuing shares and convertible notes to latest stockholders and lenders as it exits Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy, according to court papers. Ultimately, the deal allows a team of collectors – led by Sixth Street Partners, Sculptor Capital and SVPGlobal – to just take command of the enterprise.

It will also let Santiago-dependent Latam to slash its debt load by about US$4 billion upon exit from the process, which could appear as quickly as mid-2022 if approved by a judge and shareholders. Delta Air Traces Inc, Qatar Airways and Chile’s Cueto spouse and children – which collectively owned most of the company likely into the reorganisation – have agreed to aid the prepare, helping easy in excess of thorny Chilean legislation difficulties that have hung around negotiations. 

Creditors and shareholders “joined forces in providing above US$5 billion of fresh new cash for Latam to aid the restructuring and bring it forward,” Roberto Alvo, chief govt officer of Latam, claimed in an interview. The prepare and arrangement “provide the basis for a extremely robust and good long run of Latam.”

The offer marks a win for Latam, which filed for individual bankruptcy in 2020 as Covid-19 lockdowns stymied international travel. Had the company unsuccessful to file a restructuring approach by Friday, it risked getting rid of management of its bankruptcy exit method. Rival carrier Azul SA has mentioned it needs to buy Latam if specified the option. 


Program details 

For Latam, the program is a important move toward exiting personal bankruptcy. Collectors who are unsatisfied with the deal can continue to seek to block it, but US bankruptcy regulations make it possible for a corporation to pressure a restructuring offer on unwilling collectors if sure lawful hurdles are met. 

The airline ideas to challenge US$800 million of typical inventory and resume investing in Santiago with American depositary receipts, or ADRs, in New York, Alvo claimed. Current shareholders will get the first crack at paying for the new inventory – an unconventional event in US bankruptcy, which generally sees shareholders wiped out totally. But Chilean polices give stockholders legal rights more than new shares marketed by their firms.

A creditor group owed billions of pounds by Latam has agreed to invest in any new shares not obtained by present stockholders. In addition to Sixth Avenue, Sculptor and SVPGlobal, that creditor group incorporated Monarch Different Capital and Silver Stage Money as of October 27, in accordance to court papers. 

Crucially, the system calls for the issuance of a few courses of notes that can be converted to inventory. In holding with Chilean law, existing stockholders will have the correct to acquire those people, also, but their structure will make them additional appealing to collectors and shareholders supporting the strategy, Alvo explained. 

Small-position lenders can swap their statements for one particular class of the notes, although the some others are developed for stakeholders that have now agreed to assist the plan or are contributing fresh new cash to Latam, Alvo explained. 

All advised, current Latam shareholders could stop up with close to 30 percent of the the equity in the airline, with the rest ending up in the arms of creditors, he reported. 

In addition, Latam will take on US$2.75 billion of new credit card debt – to be elevated either by the bond marketplace or expression financial loans, along with a credit score facility – which will be applied in portion to repay recent creditors. Overall, program will reduce Latam’s personal debt to about $7 billion from around $11 billion at the start off of the bankruptcy.


Azul bid

Rival Brazilian airline Azul SA – founded by David Neeleman who also begun JetBlue Airways – made a bid to purchase Latam’s operations. Latam regarded Azul’s proposal, but Alvo stated it lacked specificity. 

“It was a proposal that was hypothetical and unattainable to convey ahead,” he reported, without offering details. “We considered its deserves. It’s insufficient.”

Azul has been functioning with a lesser group of lenders on an substitute personal bankruptcy exit strategy, in accordance to a individual with direct understanding of the proposal who asked for anonymity due to the fact the specifics are private. The proposal would consequence in the formation of a new enterprise owned by Latam creditors and Azul shareholders. Combining two of the biggest carriers in the Brazilian domestic market place would produce a extra productive enterprise and slash working expenditures, the particular person said.

But under US personal bankruptcy rules, because Latam submitted its plan within a court-specified deadline, Azul and other creditors’ capacity to float their individual designs is seriously curtailed. Latam has the sole appropriate to pitch a restructuring proposal right until that correct is terminated. 


What is subsequent?

Latam utilised Chapter 11 to trim its fleet, renegotiate aircraft leases and reduce other prices, such as slashing its workforce to all-around 29,000 from 43,000 earlier. The firm has observed domestic travel in key marketplaces, these as Brazil, Colombia and Chile, rebound, but it will not arrive at pre-pandemic ranges of desire right until 2024, Alvo said.

It will emerge into a Latin American travel market place turned upside down by the pandemic, with some of the biggest carriers, together with Colombia’s Avianca Holdings SA and Grupo Aeromexico, forced into personal bankruptcy.

Alvo stated Latam has reduce working prices to enable it to compete with the ultra minimal-price carriers and is in the closing levels of obtaining regulatory acceptance for a joint undertaking with Delta that will enhance its international flight possibilities.

“The entire market and the company has been brought to its knees by this unexpected celebration,” he reported, referring to the influence of Covid-19. “Today, our position in all of the international locations where we have operations is equal or superior than the 1 we had prior to getting into the pandemic.”

by Jeremy Hill & Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg

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