Auckland Airport is the latest big company to rush to strengthen its finances to counter the impact of the Covid-19 virus.

The company is to raise more than $1.2 billion through a share issue to big institutional investors and existing shareholders, including the Auckland Council which has a 22 percent stake.

The shares will be issued at $4.50 each, a near-11 percent discount to its closing price on Friday.

“We are wasting no time in taking necessary steps to ensure our organisation remains resilient throughout this crisis and emerges in a strong position once the trading environment improves,” chief executive Adrian Littlewood said.

The airport company has also been given a waiver by its big lenders for any breaches of the conditions of loans to the end of next year, as well as extending its existing lines of credit.

It’s also going to ask overseas private investors who bought debt securities from the airport to give it the same waiver from the debt conditions.

Two weeks ago the airport put on hold $2b worth of big capital projects, sacked 90 contractors, scrapped its dividend and put staff on 80 percent of their wages in order to save cash and reinforce its finances.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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