Creditors put off key vote on THAI

Creditors put off key vote on THAI

Creditors yesterday postponed a vote on Thai Airways' (THAI) debt restructuring plan until next week.

Their video conference resolved to reschedule the vote for next Wednesday which will decide whether the airline, burdened by debts exceeding 300 billion baht, can stay in business. The airline needs more than 50% of creditors to accept its plan.

Pantip Sripimol, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, said the vote was delayed after more than 10 creditors called for the plan to be amended.

One issue involves getting the Finance Ministry, THAI's biggest shareholder, to guarantee loans for the airline to make it easier to borrow and more viable to sustain the company.

But before the ministry can act as a loan guarantor, it must re-boost its shareholding back to above 50%, which would revert THAI to its previous status as a state enterprise.

Last year, the ministry reduced its stake to under 50% to ease the debt rehabilitation process. Calls to reinstate the ministry as the majority shareholder have come under fire from critics who fear it would pose too much of a financial burden.

Currently, the ministry and Government Savings Bank together hold 49.9% of THAI's shares.

THAI, which faced a record loss of 141 billion baht last year, is reportedly seeking a deferment of bond repayments for six years and a waiver of unpaid interest on loans.

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