Norwegian set to survive although shareholders are wiped out

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Impressively, Norwegian seems to have successfully managed to jump all of the hurdles required to unlock the substantial aid package offered by the Norwegian Government.

The Government had agreed to provide a credit guarantee of NOK 3 billion (£230m).  The conditions were onerous, however, and involved much of the existing bank and lease liabilities being converted to equity, leaving existing shareholders virtually wiped out.

The odds were slim but the airline has pulled it off.

Norwegian gets its bailout but wipes out shareholders

Over NOK 10 billion (£775m) of bonds and outstanding lease finance will be converted to shares with a further NOK 400 million (£31m) of new shares being issued to raise fresh cash.  Existing shareholders will be left with just 5.2% of the airline.

Whilst these numbers appear quite small, Norwegian has already temporarily laid off the majority of its employees and is currently only operating a handful of short haul routes.  Under a ‘base case’ scenario presented as part of the restructuring, it will be April 2021 before long haul flights resume from London Gatwick.

The official presentation to bondholders can be downloaded here (PDF) and is a complex but fascinating read.

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