French government, EU move closer to Air France bailout

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French government, EU move closer to Air France bailout


(Bloomberg) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said the government and the European Commission are approaching an agreement for the recapitalization of Air France which could be finalized in the coming days.
“The negotiations were long and difficult and are not entirely over,” Le Maire told France Info on Monday. The agreement will be fair and protective for Air France, while guaranteeing the interests of the country and the rules of competition, he said.

The package still needs final approval from the Commission and the board of directors of the struggling carrier, the minister said.

Air France-KLM shares rose 3.1% at the start of negotiations in Paris.

France and the Netherlands, which hold a combined 28% stake in Air France-KLM, have been in talks for months over follow-up funding after granting the carrier 10.4 billion euros (12.3 billion euros). dollars) of direct loans and government guaranteed guarantees last year. . The airline partnership, which had € 11 billion in net debt at the end of last year, has announced plans to raise equity and quasi-equity.

The Mayor declined to comment on specific details of the plan, saying only that it contained remedies “which are necessary to maintain fair competition between Air France and other airlines”. The plan is not to close routes or cut jobs, he said.

France has sought to relax the Commission’s demands for measures to boost competition, including waiving coveted landing rights at Paris-Orly and Amsterdam Schiphol airports. The Netherlands also pledged help.

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