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Tuesday 22.08.2017 | Name days: Rudīte, Everts
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airBaltic to need extra 137 million euro

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If the Latvian national airline airBaltic fails to attract a strategic investor, the government will need to invest extra 96 million lats (137 million euro) from 2013 to 2016, reports Pietiek.

The portal is referring to the undisclosed part of the business plan called airBalticReShape.

Besides, it emerges that the airline might return to losses after 2016.

So far, what is known about airBalticReShape is that the company expects to restructure costs and return to profit in 2014.

This year airBaltic plans to post 38 million lats in losses. The amount is expected to drop down to 16 million lats in 2013. The airline estimates it will make 10 million lats profit in 2014, 9 million lats in 2015, 16 million lats in 2016 and 4 million lats in 2017.

The fact that the company could return to losses after 2016 has not been publicly voiced.

Neither have officials spoken about what the plan clearly states – apart from the government loan of 67 million lats, Latvia will need to inject another 96 million lats, so that the airline can expand its fleet.

In fact, it turns out that if airBaltic fails to attract an investor, the state will have to invest extra 100 million lats, not to mention any profit.

So far, the government’s consultant Prudentia has not succeeded in attracting a strategic investor. This is leading to certain anxiety within Unity, the Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ party. The political force is aware that airBaltic could turn Dombrovskis’ success story into a failure, informal sources tell Pietiek.

Latvia came to own 99.6% of the airline after Russian billionaire Vladimir Antonov’s AS Latvijas Krajbanka collapsed in late 2012. Back then, the government took over 47.2% shares of Baltic Aviation Systems (BAS), a company associated with ex-airBaltic CEO, Bertolt Flick.

The true beneficiaries of BAS are tied to Antonov as well as the so-called old oligarch and ex-prime minister Andris Skele. This suggests that Flick was nothing more but a disguise.

BAS has instituted legal proceedings against the state of Latvia. Besides, companies associated with BAS owners’ interests have filed a claim, demanding the airline’s bankruptcy.

Last year, airBaltic losses amounted to 83.6 million lats.

Ref: 102.105.105.2508


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