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Kenya Airways to Name Strategic Investor by Year-End - BLOOMBERG

MARCH 26, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Kenya Airways Plc has started the process of identifying suitable partners to support capitalization of the company to boost its efforts to reduce debt and expand operations.

KQ, as the carrier is known, plans to announce a strategic investor by the end of this year, Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said Tuesday in a virtual briefing. The carrier, which is 48.9% state-owned, didn’t receive a direct disbursement from the National Treasury last year and instead got support in restructuring some debts, he said. 

“The one thing that we have not yet completed is really to rethink our balance sheet — that is completely essential and that’s what we are really focused on this year,” Kilavuka said. “We are still projecting to break even at the very least for 2024.”

KQ said in June it owed creditors $1.35 billion and was at risk of defaulting on a $420.5 million government loan. Other loans include $439.8 million owed to a special purpose vehicle domiciled in Delaware set up for the acquisition of seven aircraft and an engine, and $97.9 million from another one incorporated in the Cayman Islands to purchase 10 Embraer jets. Local lenders are owed more than $224.9 million, while liabilities to suppliers, who include fuel companies, total $164.2 million.

The airline swung to an operating profit of 10.5 billion shillings ($79.6 million) last year, and the annual loss narrowed by 41%, Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mathuka said during the briefing. 

KQ shares have been suspended from the Nairobi Securities Exchange since July 2020 as the company implements the operational and corporate restructuring.

“In the near term, the focus is in completing the restructuring plan whose main objectives are to reduce the group’s financial leverage, fund growth and increase liquidity,” Kilavuka said. 


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