Kenya Air to Restructure Debt After Nationalization Plans Collapse

Kenya Airways Plc has selected financial advisers at Seabury Securities to help the airline evaluate options to restructure its debt load, Bloomberg News reported. The airline, in which the Kenyan government has a 48.9% stake, faces mounting debts and depressed passenger demand amid pandemic-related travel restrictions. A representative for Kenya Airways said the carrier is in talks with several consultants, including Seabury, but declined to elaborate further. A representative for Seabury Securities declined to comment. Kenya’s Treasury confirmed plans to hire a consultant by end of January to help with the airline’s restructuring. Kenya Airways has been banking on the government to take control and absorb its debt, which totaled 92.5 billion shillings ($847 million) at the end of 2020-- as the pandemic exacerbated years of losses. But after rounds of talks, Kenya’s government scrapped a plan to fully nationalize the carrier. Restructuring the airline would cost an estimated $1 billion and and the Kenyan government would have to inject money into the air carrier because the East African nation’s Treasury has already guaranteed $750 million of the company’s debt, according to the International Monetary Fund. The government has set aside 26.6 billion shillings to help Kenya Airways and other state-owned enterprises in a supplementary budget for the year through June, local newspaper Business Daily reported on Wednesday. Read more.