France

At the airport of Tarbes in France, row upon row of empty jets in liveries from Asia to Africa sit nose to tail on the tarmac, waiting out the coronavirus crisis in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Reuters reported. Air travel has tumbled to a fraction of normal levels due to the pandemic, grounding about two thirds of the world’s fleet and stretching Europe’s largest aircraft storage company. “Today there’s no (travel) demand. That is why we have more than 200 aircraft on our sites,” said Patrick Lecer, chief executive of TARMAC Aerosave, headquartered at Tarbes.

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Rising French corporate debt could leave firms struggling to survive and saddle banks with dud loans, the central bank said on Tuesday in its biannual financial risk report, Reuters reported. French companies went into the coronavirus crisis with debt already at record levels, topping 72% of gross domestic product at the end of last year, according to the Bank of France. A nearly two-month coronavirus lockdown left many with little choice but to tap state-guaranteed bank loans as their cashflows all but dried up, providing short-term relief by adding to their debt burdens.

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France is warning flag carrier Air France-KLM against making forced job cuts, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying such a move would constitute a “red line” the carrier shouldn’t cross after receiving a state bailout, Bloomberg News reported. “We spent money to save Air France,” he said Thursday in a radio interview.

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Air France plans to offer about 8,300 staff incentives to leave in a bid to cut costs without stirring a political backlash after receiving a massive state bailout, people familiar with the proposal said, Bloomberg News reported. The Air France-KLM unit will seek the voluntary exit of around 300 pilots, 2,000 cabin crew and 6,000 ground staff, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the plans aren’t public. The cuts could affect roughly 17% of workers, though that may change after union and management talks, they said.

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They are the A-team — respected veterans of Airbus, Europe’s aerospace champion, recalled from retirement to defend the industry’s fragile supply chain against a devastating collapse in demand, the Financial Times reported. Each has been chosen to lead a national task force: Tom Williams, former chief operating officer of Airbus commercial, for the UK; Didier Evrard, ex-head of aircraft programmes, for France; and Bernhard Gerwert, previously chief executive of the defence arm, for Germany. The aim is to bring together each country’s big aerospace manufacturers to plan for the survival of t

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Plastic car parts maker Novares went into temporary receivership at the end of April, one of the first big French firms to seek protection from creditors due to the coronavirus crisis, despite government bailout schemes and loan guarantees, Reuters reported. Novares, whose sales have collapsed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, said on Monday it had taken the step after struggling to find a rapid agreement with its banks and shareholders and solve a coronavirus-related cash crunch.

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BNP Paribas warned coronavirus could knock a fifth off its 2020 profits as it revealed a €184m blow to its equities trading division after complex derivatives products suffered in volatile markets, the Financial Times reported. The French bank said on Tuesday its net income could fall 15 per cent to 20 per cent this year, with Covid-19 prompting a “drastic revisit of the 2020 macroeconomic scenario”. The lender also earmarked an additional half a billion euros to cover potential loan losses.

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Air France-KLM won European Union approval for a 7 billion-euro ($7.7 billion) French aid package that Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said will lead to cutbacks in domestic services, Bloomberg News reported. The carrier obtained a state guarantee and a subordinated shareholder loan, a financial life line executives say was needed for its survival in the face of a collapse in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic that has pummeled the global industry.

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