Man Who Saved Second-Oldest Airline Drives It Back to the Brink

Avianca was a failing airline with 37 outdated planes when German Efromovich purchased it out of bankruptcy in 2004. Over 15 years the Bolivian businessman built it into a regional powerhouse as Latin America’s second-largest carrier. But for all its success, the Bogota-based company is now back on a rocky foundation, Bloomberg News reported. Its stock price is down by almost 75% since it went public in 2011 and its bonds are trading in distressed territory amid concerns it will struggle to refinance debt. Avianca’s first-quarter loss was the biggest since 2015. The man most responsible for the mess is the same who so recently was treated as a hero -- Efromovich. The self-made millionaire imperiled the airline’s future by last year offering up his 51.5% stake in Avianca as collateral on a loan from United Continental Holdings Inc. Read more