Prospective buyer for Mexican airline puts money on table

November 19th, 2011 - 12:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, Nov 19 (IANS/EFE) Mexican businessman Ivan Barona submitted proof of $400 million in funds to recapitalise bankrupt airline Mexicana de Aviacion, which has been grounded for more than a year, the carrier’s administrator said.

Barona, a mining sector investor, presented the judge in Mexicana’s bankruptcy proceedings a proof of funds letter from a Swiss bank confirming “the availability of sufficient funding to recapitalise” the airline, Gerardo Badin said in a statement Thursday.

The documentation will be verified in the coming days, Barona said in a brief note.

The Mexicana group of airlines, which also includes sister budget carriers Click and Link, halted operations last year and filed for bankruptcy protection after racking up an estimated 12 billion pesos ($888 million) in debt.

Earlier this week, the bankruptcy judge, Felipe Consuelo Soto, pushed back the deadline for investors to recapitalize the beleaguered Mexican airline until Feb 10, 2012.

He said the extension of the deadline will enable the carrier to continue searching for a new owner and negotiate a restructuring of its debt, adding that Mexicana is “viable”, strategically important and that some 8,500 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs are at stake.

Soto last week said potential investors in the airline told him they had been anonymously contacted by phone and warned not to put their money in a trust to salvage Mexicana, which faces liquidation of its assets if no deal is reached.

The judge said that could explain why since last year other potential Mexicana suitors “have not come up with the funds to capitalize the company”.

Soto speculated that competitors of Mexicana interested in the airline’s “highly coveted” slots and routes could be behind the threats.

–IANS/EFE
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