Air Serbia repays $ 63 million Etihad loan
Air Serbia repaid its second and final loan to Etihad Airways Partners BV, a special purpose vehicle set up by Etihad Airways in September 2015 to raise funds for itself and its financial partners. Last year, the Serbian carrier repaid the first of two loans, amounting to US $ 52.9 million, although it initially sought to renegotiate the debt and defer payments due to financial strains. caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After her claim was rejected and faced with a default, the airline independently made the payment in full. The second of the two loans matured this summer, with the Serbian transporter also making full payment on time. The only two other parties to have successfully repaid their finance vehicle loan are Etihad Airways and Etihad Airport Services, while Air Seychelles, Alitalia and Air Belin have not.
Six years ago, Air Serbia shareholder Etihad embarked on an international tour, with the support of senior advisor Goldman Sachs and the United Arab Emirates-based companies ADS Securities and Anoa Capital, creating financing vehicles. The group managed to raise $ 700 million which was split among the six Etihad Partners entities at the time, including Air Serbia, for a mix of capital expenditure and fleet investment, as well as for refinancing. The financing vehicles are largely international investment funds. Air Serbia’s two loans, totaling $ 115.9 million, were the airline’s two biggest financial obligations to lenders.
Air Serbia had previously indicated that it was able to restructure its activities thanks to the loans, which have led to record results in recent years. “After the restructuring, which was also made possible with the funds from this loan, the airline recorded its biggest expansion in 2019, carrying a record 2.81 million passengers and serving up to 23 new destinations in just one year. and launching operations from two new airports in Serbia – Niš and Kraljevo. In the first months of 2020, Air Serbia continued to grow, so in January and February the number of passengers carried increased by more than 20%, year on year. After resuming flights on May 21, 2020, the company remained focused on gradually increasing frequencies where possible, while safeguarding the health of passengers and employees, ”the airline said. He previously noted that the repayment of the first loan was proof of the sound and responsible management of the business before and during the crisis, and during the resumption of the consequences of the pandemic.