Portugal to Raise Stake in Airline TAP Before Providing Loan

The Portuguese government agreed to buy David Neeleman’s indirect stake in TAP SGPS SA as part of a plan to provide a rescue loan to save the airline, Bloomberg News reported. “This allows us to unblock the loan and avoid the bankruptcy of a company that’s essential for the country,” Finance Minister Joao Leao said at a press conference in Lisbon on Thursday night. Like other carriers, TAP had to halt most of its operations due to the coronavirus outbreak. The European Commission has already approved a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) rescue loan to help the airline meet immediate liquidity needs. The government will increase its holding in Lisbon-based TAP to 72.5 percent from 50 percent, Secretary of State for Treasury Miguel Cruz said. It will pay a total of 55 million euros as part of the agreement, including the purchase of economic rights and voting rights in the carrier, Cruz said. Brazilian airline Azul SA will also give up rights to convert certain bonds. Read more.