Thai Airways confident in rehabilitation request as court hearing nears

FILE PHOTO: Workers service a Thai Airways Airbus A380-800 aircraft at Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand September 3, 2019. Picture taken September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Thai Airways International Pcl expects the bankruptcy court to allow for a rehabilitation process after a hearing next month on its restructuring proposals, its legal advisor told a shareholders meeting on Friday.

“We have not had any obstacles so far because creditors have been cooperative,” Kitipong Urapeepatanapong said.

The bankruptcy court accepted the airline’s petition for bankruptcy protection in May, giving it an automatic stay on debt repayments and setting Aug. 17 for its first hearing.

Thai Airways would restructure debt worth around 245 billion baht ($7.9 billion).

Kitipong expects the court to accept the airlines’ request and appoint a committee to design the rehabilitation plan.

After the plan is drawn up, it will be submitted to creditors and the court for approval next year, he said.

Rehabilitation administrators can begin restructuring in May or June 2021 in a process that could take up to seven years.

While some countries have not accepted the automatic stay, but airplane lessors have been supportive due to the pandemic, Thai Airways Acting President Chansin Treenuchagron told reporters in a separate briefing.

The collapse of travel demand and the grounding of flights across the globe due to the coronavirus outbreak has tipped several industry players over the edge.

On Thursday, budget carrier Nok Airlines Pcl, of which Thai Airways has a 13% stake, submitted a petition for bankruptcy protection.

Chansin said he was confident he had the support of between 70% and 80% of creditors, with holdouts mostly being individual corporate bonds investors.

Chansin said his focus was on Aug. 17, where the airline would have to justify its need for the rehabilitation and show planners are reliable and had aviation experience.

Asked about the carrier’s liquidity he said it was “manageable.”

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.