If Europe’s regulators back Air France-KLM taking a stake in SAS, along with IAG buying Air Europa, and Lufthansa acquiring ITA, Europe’s aviation market will become more like the U.S. one, which has been the world’s most profitable.
Scandinavian airline SAS secured an investment agreement with a consortium for restructuring aid of 13.2 billion Swedish crowns ($1.21 billion), with a loan from Castlelake replacing its previous debtor-in-possession financing by Apollo Global Management, the carrier said on Saturday.
The winning bidder consortium which also includes Air France-KLM, Lind Invest ApS and the Danish state, increased its proposed investment by $25.26 million.
In October, the company said Castlelake would take a stake of about 32%, while Air France-KLM’s will be around 20%, and the Danish state will hold about 26%, adding that total investments in the reorganized SAS would amount to $1.16 billion.
The airline’s credit agreement for $505.25 million with Castlelake will be used to refinance its loans, increase liquidity and support its exit from voluntary restructuring proceedings, according to the statement.
Air France confirmed the increased restructuring aid financing.
SAS’s chief executive, Anko van der Werff, said: “By entering into this investment agreement, SAS is taking the next step in its Chapter 11 process in the U.S.”
The company now seeks U.S. Court approval of the investment agreement and the new debtor-in-possession financing as soon as possible in November.
In August of last year, the Scandinavian airline entered into an agreement with U.S.-based investment fund Apollo Global to raise $700 million of fresh financing.
Scandinavia’s biggest carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in mid-2022 after years of struggling with high costs coupled with low customer demand brought on by the pandemic.
Castlelake and Lind Invest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
($1 = 10.8856 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Gursimran Kaur in Bengaluru. Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Philippa Fletcher, Ira Iosebashvili and Matthew Lewis)