Thai airline creditors delay vote on debt restructuring plan


(Bloomberg) – Thai Airways International Pcl delayed voting on its restructuring plan for a week after some creditors pushed for changes and looked for time to consider some last-minute adjustments unveiled by the administrator.

Creditors will meet again on May 19 after 20 of them offered to postpone the vote, Thai Air said in a statement. At Wednesday’s meeting held via video conference, some debt holders asked for more clarity on the details of the restructuring plan which included some changes, the carrier said.

The carrier’s stock hovered between gains and losses before closing 3.7% higher in Bangkok. The stock has fallen 45% since the exchange lifted a trading suspension on April 16.

The national airline needs more than 50% of creditors to agree to its plan, which is part of the measures to help it return to profitability as it navigates the havoc wreaked on the global travel industry by the pandemic. The airline, which has total liabilities of at least $ 11 billion, in March proposed a three-year freeze on loan repayments in one of the country’s hottest restructurings.

Thai Air is asking for a six-year deferral of bond repayments and a waiver of unpaid interest on loans under the plan, involving around 170 billion baht ($ 5.44 billion) in debt. It is also seeking to raise 50 billion baht in new capital, plans to halve its workforce and sell real estate to help return to profitability.

The Southeast Asian country faces new woes more than a year after the start of the pandemic, as a new wave of infections causes more unrest in its crucial travel sector. Thai Air, which posted a record loss of 141 billion baht last year, joins other global peers in a bid for debt relief as massive flight suspensions push carriers to seek the financial assistance from governments and investors.

Read more: World’s Biggest Economies Bet Vaccine Passports Can Save Tourism

A senior lawyer for Kudun & Partners Ltd., which represents bondholders, said in March that their initial response to the proposed restructuring was favorable. Thailand’s finance ministry, the Bangkok-based airline’s largest shareholder, indicated support for the debt plan in the same month.

(Recast with airline statement.)

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