This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) expects to raise as much as S$15 billion ($10.36 billion) through the sale of S$5.3 billion in new shares and up to a further S$9.7 billion through 10-year mandatory convertible bonds (MCBs), the company announced Thursday. SIA has also arranged a S$4 billion bridge loan facility with DBS Bank to support its near-term liquidity requirements as cash drain accelerates amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The company said it intends to use the proceeds from the rights issues to fund capital and operational expenditure requirements. While both issuances stand subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), SIA said its largest shareholder—Temasek Holdings—will underwrite the funding.
“This is an exceptional time for the SIA Group,” said SIA chairman Peter Seah. “Since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, passenger demand has fallen precipitously amid an unprecedented closure of borders worldwide. We moved quickly to cut capacity and implement cost-cutting measures. We have also worked closely with the Singapore government to bring Singaporeans home safely during this time. At the same time, we are also working with various parties to enable our staff on no-pay leave to have other income opportunities.”
The aviation sector serves as a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, supporting 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 375,000 jobs. SIA Group—which includes SIA, SilkAir, and Scoot—account for more than half of the passengers flying into and out of Singapore Changi Airport.
On Monday, Singapore Airlines said it will cut 96 percent of its system capacity originally scheduled through the end of April and ground most of its fleet as tightening border controls brought international air travel to a near standstill. The moves will see 138 Singapore Airlines and SilkAir aircraft grounded out of a total fleet of 147, while 47 of 49 aircraft sit idle at low-fare subsidiary Scoot.
Measures to build liquidity and reduce spending and operating costs at SIA include ongoing discussions with aircraft manufacturers to defer upcoming aircraft deliveries. Other moves have involved executive salary cuts and voluntary unpaid leave for certain management positions while SIA remains engaged with unions on more cost-cutting measures, steps toward which the company said it would take “imminently.”