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SAirGroup gives green light to Sabena recapitalisation plan

SAirGroup comes on board Sabena rescue plan, but doubts persist about the airline's future

(Keystone)

The board of management of Switzerland's SAirGroup has announced its acceptance of the recapitalisation plan for the ailing Belgian airline, Sabena.

In accepting the plan, SAirGroup has signalled its readiness to provide Sabena with an urgently needed cash injection of €150 million. In total, the airline needs €250 million (SFr380 million) to stay in the air, with the shortfall being met by the Belgian government.

SAirGroup owns 49.5 per cent of Sabena, while the Belgian government currently has a 50.5 per cent stake.

The shareholders of Sabena are almost certain to confirm the deal when they meet in Brussels on Friday. Following confirmation of SAirGroup's acceptance, this meeting is now thought to be a formality.

Despite the agreement to save Sabena from bankruptcy, the SAirGroup has raised doubts about its long-term commitment to the airline.

The company says it intends to keep its options open regarding its future involvement in the Belgian carrier. A key issue is its agreement with the Belgian government to raise its holding to 85 per cent.

SAirGroup's decision to approve the cash injection followed weeks of tough bargaining with unions and pilots over SFr80 million in cost cuts demanded by the shareholders as a condition for the new equity.

Sabena's unions and pilots signed an agreement on the cost cuts which entail 700 job losses on Monday.

swissinfo with agencies


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