By Stephen Wright
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Air New Zealand Ltd. said its plan to call on its shareholders for a substantial injection of cash has been postponed until the first quarter of 2022, when the New Zealand border is expected to begin a gradual reopening after the pandemic.
The airline, which is half-owned by the New Zealand government, said on Friday that Finance Minister Grant Robertson felt the current environment was not sufficiently certain and stable.
Air New Zealand, which expects losses of around $ 700 million over two years from the pandemic, had planned to raise new equity before the end of September. This is the second delay for the airline’s fundraiser, which it originally planned for the second quarter of this year.
In a letter to the airline’s board of directors, Mr. Robertson said the government is committed to remaining the majority shareholder in the company.
He said there should be enough certainty in early 2022 for the government to buy more shares in the airline, provided there are no significant adverse developments in the pandemic.
The New Zealand government on Thursday presented its intention to allow entry without quarantine next year for vaccinated travelers from countries deemed to be at low risk for Covid-19.
Plans to raise the interest rates Air New Zealand pays on its NZ $ 1.5 billion (US $ 1.05 billion) credit facility with the government have been dropped due to the delay of raising capital, Robertson said.
Write to Stephen Wright at [email protected]