Friday, 26 June 2020

KLM secures financing of €3.4 billion to weather the COVID-19 crisis

KLM announces that it has secured financing for a total amount of €3.4 billion.

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has had a seismic effect on the aviation industry around the world.  Many governments in a great many countries have been forced to put their hands in the pockets to help their airline industries survive. 

The pandemic has an unprecedented impact on KLM Group’s activities and in order to cope with this difficult period and to secure the future of the company, KLM has already taken a large number of measures to maintain liquidity shortly after the outbreak. Nevertheless, KLM needs additional financing in the coming period. This has been the subject of intensive discussions with the Dutch state and banks in recent months.

KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said: "Due to COVID-19 KLM is currently in an unprecedented crisis. The financing package is necessary to secure the long and difficult road of recovery in the coming period. This is a very important step and I express my gratitude on behalf of all KLM colleagues to the Dutch state and the banks for their confidence in our organisation and our future. With the financing package, KLM can continue to fulfil its important social role in economic recovery and sustainability. In the coming period, we will be working on the restoration of the route network and, on the other hand, on the development of the restructuring plan and the far-reaching conditions that have been imposed on the package."



The financing ensures that KLM can continue its activities and that the company's position is strengthened towards the future. The conditions imposed by the Dutch State on the financing package relate to the entire KLM Group and include terms of employment of all KLM Group employees, the variable remuneration of management and top management, restructuring, dividend, governance, network quality, sustainability and liveability.

After careful discussions with both the Dutch state and banks, KLM has agreed on the structure of a financing package to ensure liquidity. The financing package and the conditions under which this package is provided by the Dutch state are subject to parliamentary approval in the Netherlands. The financing package should also be approved by the European Commission under the Temporary Framework for State aid measures introduced in the context of COVID-19.

Once this approval has been obtained, KLM will consult with trade unions to work out and detail together the conditions that the government imposes on the employment conditions of KLM employees.

The financing package consists of:

A 90% State guaranteed revolving credit facility of EUR 2.4 billion with a maturity of 5 years. The facility is granted by 11 banks, of which three Dutch banks and eight foreign banks.
A direct State loan of EUR 1 billion with a maturity of 5.5 years. The loan, provided by the Dutch State, will be subordinated to the revolving credit facility.
Following the completion of the parliamentary process, the first EUR 665 million drawing under the new revolving credit facility will be used to repay and terminate the existing revolving credit facility drawn on 19 March 2020. At that time, KLM will also withdraw a pro rata amount (EUR 277 million) from the direct State loan. Follow-up withdrawals under both the revolving credit facility and the direct State loan are only possible if certain conditions imposed by the State are met.

KLM will therefore draw up a restructuring plan that meets these conditions and determines the path for post-COVID-19 recovery. The plan also aims to review KLM's current activities and adapt KLM to the changed economic reality.

Further information on the financing package

Revolving credit facility

A revolving credit facility of EUR 2.4 billion, granted by 11 banks, of which three Dutch banks and eight international banks.
The main features include:
90% guarantee granted by the Dutch state
Maturity of 5 years
Coupon at an annual rate equal to EURIBOR (floored at zero) plus a margin of 1.35%
A cost of guarantee granted by the Dutch state equal to 0.50% in year 1, 1.00% in year 2 and 3, and 2.00% after year 3
Direct state loan

A direct term loan of EUR 1.0 billion, granted by the Dutch state to KLM.
The main features include:
Maturity of 5.5 years
Coupon payable annually at a rate equal to EURIBOR 12 months (floored at zero) plus a margin of 6.25% for year 1, 6.75% for year 2 and 3, and 7.75% for year 4 and 5
Subordination to the new revolving credit facility
The revolving credit facility and the direct loan will be drawn on a pro rata basis. KLM’s first drawing under the new revolving credit facility will be used to repay and terminate the existing revolving credit facility drawn on 19 March 2020 for an amount of 665 million euros. At that time, KLM will also withdraw a pro rata amount from the direct State loan. Follow-up withdrawals under both the revolving credit facility and the direct State loan are only possible if certain conditions imposed by the State are met.

The syndicated revolving credit facility was coordinated by the three Dutch banks: ABN, ING and Rabobank. KLM received financial advice from Rabobank and legal advice from Allen & Overy LLP.

The news hasn't been welcomed by all,  the low-fare high-fee airline Ryanair has condemned the deal and has called on the EU Commission to block what it calls "illegal State Aid"  despite it already being approved as legal by the EU.

The airline sniped at The Dutch Government, saying it is "great at preaching fiscal conservatism to other EU countries but when it comes to bailing out flag carrier airlines they write subsidy checks even faster than Mrs Merkel."

The bullish Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said: “16 years after Air France’s takeover of KLM, every Dutch citizen now has to pay €200 each to prop-up Air France-KLM, while each French citizen will only pay a subsidy €100. This is a poor deal for the “trading nation”, which likes to lecture other EU countries about fiscal rules but has no problem breaking these rules when it comes to subsidising KLM. This Dutch government subsidy is also bad news for competition and consumer interests as it will further delay the necessary reforms at the bloated Air France-KLM.  For this €200 KLM subsidy, every Dutch man, woman and child could buy 5 flights with Ryanair, instead of paying for the failure and inefficiency at Air France-KLM. 

We call on the European Commission to block this subsidy doping to KLM, which will further reduce competition and consumer choice in the Dutch and French markets”.








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