SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Creditors want THAI reinstated as state-owned enterprise

Creditors want THAI reinstated as state-owned enterprise

The majority of creditors agree with moves to have Thai Airways International (THAI) reinstated as a state-owned enterprise, an adviser to THAI’s rehabilitation plan said on Monday.

THAI lost its status as a state-owned enterprise last year when the Finance Ministry cut its stake to less than 50 per cent as part of the airline’s debt-rehabilitation plan.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith is thought to support THAI’s reinstatement as a state enterprise, but the State Enterprise Policy Office has indicated the debt-laden airline will not be recapitalised by the ministry.

Creditors and their official receiver will hold an online meeting to consider THAI’s rehab plan on Wednesday.

The adviser said reinstatement as a state enterprise would mean THAI could boost its liquidity by seeking loans from the Finance Ministry.

"THAI would gain benefits under the Public-Private Partnership Act, such as contracts with Airports of Thailand for public infrastructure," he said.

However, he cautioned that as a state enterprise, THAI would not know how many times the government was willing to inject cash into the company.

"If Covid-19 does not impact THAI's rehabilitation plan, we believe that it will be able to recover its business quickly because this is not the first time the company has faced losses," he said.

He added that the rehab plan had made significant progress, with a plan to reduce expenditure by cutting the number of THAI employees from around 20,000 to 14,000.

Government Savings Bank president Vitai Ratanakorn said the bank is ready to approve THAI's rehab plan. He added that the airline has a plan to inject funds of THB25 billion each to shareholders and creditors.

"We understand that the company will discuss who will get the funds after the rehabilitation plan is approved," he said.

Poramate Intarachumnum, chair of the Cooperative League of Thailand, said 84 cooperatives had agreed to allow THAI to continue in business but insisted that it clarify financial support from the government and other matters.