March 25, 2020 / 7:21 PM / 5 days ago

UPDATE 1-Norwegian Air asks financial creditors to forego payments for 3 months

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OSLO, March 25 (Reuters) - Norwegian Air on Wednesday asked its financial creditors to forego payments of interest and instalments until June 30, the crisis-hit budget carrier said in a statement.

The Norwegian government last week presented a rescue package for the company, but set a range of conditions, including that creditors would not be paid while financial guarantees are in place.

"Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has today launched a forbearance request asking for support from their financial creditors which implies that the financial creditors will not receive any debt service or payments with equivalent effect during the forbearance period, which will end 30 June," the carrier said.

Norwegian, which has grounded most of its aircraft and temporarily laid off 90% of staff due to the coronavirus outbreak, amounting to about 7,300 people, has said it needed access to cash "within weeks, not months".

The company on Tuesday qualified for a payout of 300 million Norwegian crowns ($28 million), but creditors must support its request to freeze payments if a further 1.2 billion crowns is to be made available.

Another 1.5 billion crowns of support would be dependent on Norwegian Air boosting its equity, the government has said. ($1 = 10.7076 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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