Norway

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA dropped as much as 60% after completing a recapitalization that hands control of the company to aircraft lessors and bondholders, Bloomberg News reported. Investors had in recent days stubbornly traded Norwegian’s shares far above the price of a discounted equity issue that came on top of an $830 million debt conversion.

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Norway’s central bank cut interest rates to a record low of zero but said it was unlikely to go negative as the rich Scandinavian country faces up to the twin shocks of coronavirus and an oil price collapse, the Financial Times reported. Norges Bank said on Thursday that the 0.25 percentage point cut would not prevent Covid-19 from having “a substantial impact on the Norwegian economy but can help dampen the downturn”, including by stopping high unemployment becoming entrenched.

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Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA shareholders approved a restructuring plan that hands almost all of the company’s equity to its creditors, after the coronavirus crisis pushed the struggling airline to the brink of survival, Bloomberg News reported. The plan converts almost $1 billion of debt into stock, qualifying the low-cost carrier for state loan guarantees that, along with the sale of new shares, will keep it afloat for at least several months.

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Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA reached an agreement with bondholders to swap debt for equity, taking the airline one step closer to securing the state loan guarantees needed to keep the struggling carrier afloat, Bloomberg News reported. Such loan guarantees were “crucial to getting through the crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Jacob Schram said in a statement on Sunday. As the airline prepares to hold a shareholder meeting on Monday, Schram said his main priority now is to reach an agreement with the leasing companies that provide their planes.

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Norwegian Air Shuttle has warned that the bulk of its fleet is likely to remain grounded for the next 12 months and that a full recovery would not take place until 2022, laying bare the scale of the crisis engulfing the airline industry, the Financial Times reported. As part of a planned $1.2bn debt-for-equity swap to try to ensure the low-cost airline’s survival, Norwegian said on Monday that its base case was that its fleet would remain fully grounded until April 2021, apart from the seven aircraft currently flying in Norway.

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Norway’s parliament voted through a new company restructuring law on Friday that could help save Norwegian Air and many other companies from potential bankruptcy as a result of the restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, Reuters reported. The legislation replaces current regulation on debt negotiations and relaxes rules for converting debt into equity. “(The new law) is a more efficient tool to ... sort out what parts of a business can be strong enough to survive,” Justice Minster Monica Maeland told parliament.

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Norwegian Air on Monday reported that four Swedish and Danish subsidiaries had filed for bankruptcy and that it had ended staffing contracts in Europe and the United States, putting some 4,700 jobs at risk, Reuters reported. The airline is seeking to convert debt to equity, money from shareholders and Norwegian state guarantees in a bid to survive the coronavirus crisis.

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Norway risks sinking into a recession for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, after a collapse in oil prices added to the fallout of the coronavirus, Bloomberg News reported. The government of western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer, which is also the richest Nordic economy, is preparing emergency stimulus measures to fight the effect of the virus on trade and travel. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she’s also ready to counter the potentially more damaging fallout of an oil crisis if necessary. “If the economy is lower, there could be room to spend more money.

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Shares in Norwegian Air plunged a quarter in value on Thursday, leading airline stocks lower as investors bet the debt-laden budget carrier would be the most vulnerable to a coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. The slump in Norwegian shares to an 11-year low of 16.80 crowns came despite the company trying to reassure investors by reiterating its financial guidance. The stock has now lost 52% since the start of this week as the coronavirus has spread around the world, threatening an extended period of disruption to international travel.

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Loss-making Norwegian Air has appointed Jacob Schram as chief executive to take charge of the budget carrier’s restructuring as it struggles with a low-cost, long-haul model in an overcrowded industry, Reuters reported. Schram, who does not have a background in aviation, joins Norwegian from management consulting company McKinsey and was previously a top executive in the petrol retail industry, Norwegian’s board said on Wednesday.

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