Thai Airways

Record $6.2b loss in midst of debt restructuring

Thai Airways said in an exchange filing yesterday that its net loss widened to 141.2 billion baht (S$6.19 billion) from 12 billion baht in 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
Thai Airways said in an exchange filing yesterday that its net loss widened to 141.2 billion baht (S$6.19 billion) from 12 billion baht in 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK • Thai Airways International, the nation's flag carrier in the middle of a debt restructuring, reported a record loss last year after the coronavirus outbreak ground most of its services to a halt.

The net loss widened to 141.2 billion baht (S$6.19 billion), or 64.68 baht a share, from 12 billion baht, or 5.51 baht a share in 2019, Thai Airways said in an exchange filing yesterday.

The annual loss was the largest ever for a Thai company, according to data compiled by the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Thai Airways, which has posted losses every year barring one since 2013, is preparing to submit a debt rehabilitation plan to the bankruptcy court in Bangkok by March 2 in a bid to reduce its liabilities from 336.7 billion baht and return to profit.

While the airline expects its performance in the first half to improve from a year ago with easing of some travel curbs, it will still be "negative", it said in the statement.

While tourism-reliant Thailand has eased curbs on foreign tourists, a mandatory two-week quarantine and a fresh wave of infections have kept most visitors away. Wider availability of Covid-19 vaccines will be the key to reviving travel demand, the airline said.

The airline's losses last year included one-time expenses of almost 92 billion baht from an employee separation plan and impairment losses on aircraft, right-of-use assets and aircraft spare parts, it said in the statement.

The widening losses sent Thai Airways equity to a negative 127 billion baht at the end of last year, it said.

Thai Airways shares, up 29 per cent this year, were suspended yesterday as the Stock Exchange of Thailand considered whether the company is subject to delisting because of its negative equity.

The bourse will decide on delisting of the stock within seven days, or by March 7, it said in a statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2021, with the headline 'Record $6.2b loss in midst of debt restructuring'. Subscribe