It sounds crazy, yes. Take on new debt to get yourself out of the hole of bankruptcy. But LATAM execs say they have a plan, and it all makes sense as travel comes roaring back.
LATAM Airlines Group SA, the largest air transport group in Latin America, on Monday asked a bankruptcy judge to approve $2.75 billion in new loans to fund the company’s exit from Chapter 11.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Garrity in Manhattan will review the request during a court hearing on June 23.
LATAM, which has operating units in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, says it has commitments for $2.75 billion in loans from JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, Barclays Bank Plc, BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas Securities Corp and Natixis, with an additional $1.17 billion agreement to refinance and extend its existing bankruptcy loan.
“This commitment secures us the full amount of financing required to complete our restructuring plan and, very importantly, with a degree of flexibility that allows us to optimize existing market conditions,” LATAM Airlines Chief Executive Roberto Alvo said in a press release on Saturday.
In addition to the judge approving the exit loans, LATAM is awaiting Garrity’s decision on whether to approve its overall restructuring plan.
LATAM needs to secure its exit loans before emerging from bankruptcy and continuing to raise funds through a post-bankruptcy $800 million equity offering, according to court documents.
Born in 2012 from the merger of Chile’s LAN with Brazilian rival TAM, LATAM was one of three major Latin American airlines to seek Chapter 11 protection in New York two years ago amid the economic fallout of the pandemic. The other two, Mexico’s Grupo Aeromexico and Colombia’s Avianca SA, have both emerged from bankruptcy in the past six months.
(Reporting by Dietrich Knauth; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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