SIA secures $10 billion of liquidity to combat Covid-19 fallout

For the period up to July 2021, SIA also has the option to raise up to a further $6.2 billion in additional mandatory convertible bonds. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines has secured $10 billion in fresh liquidity through its recent rights issue as well as through other credit facilities, as the airline industry navigates an unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of $8.8 billion was raised through the rights issue last Friday (June 5), and a further $900 million was secured through long-term loans secured on some of Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft, the national carrier said in a statement on Monday.

SIA has also arranged new committed lines of credit and a short-term unsecured loan with several banks, which provide further fresh liquidity amounting to more than $500 million.

"This puts SIA on a steady footing as it tackles the challenges posed by the global Covid-19 outbreak," said the airline.

It added: "During this period of high uncertainty, SIA will continue to explore additional means to shore up liquidity as necessary."

All existing committed lines of credit that were due to mature over 2020 have been renewed until 2021 or later, which ensures a continued access to more than $1.7 billion in liquidity.

For the period up to July 2021, the company also has the option to raise up to a further $6.2 billion in additional mandatory convertible bonds (MCB), which will provide additional liquidity if needed.

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong thanked shareholders and banks for their support, and said: "SIA will remain steadfast and agile during this period of great uncertainty, and continue to act nimbly in responding to the evolving market conditions."

The airline had announced in March that its rights exercise involved the issue of 295 rights MCBs for every 100 SIA shares held. Each of the rights could be exercised at $1 for one MCB.

The rights shares were issued on the basis of three rights shares for every two existing SIA shares owned by shareholders.

Of the $8.8 billion under the rights issue, the flag carrier said earlier that it will use $3.7 billion to fund operating cash flow such as fixed costs and other operating expenses, while $3.3 billion will go towards aircraft purchases and aircraft-related payments. The remaining $1.8 billion will be used for debt servicing and other contractual payments.

SIA has had to cancel most of its flights amid travel restrictions worldwide and a drastic drop in demand for air travel due to the pandemic. The first round of cuts was announced in March and the cancellations have since been extended to end-June. However, it has resumed flights to several destinations, including Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Melbourne, for June and July.

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