Spain approves 320 mln euro aid package for travel group Avoris

MADRID, March 16 (Reuters) - Spain has approved a 320 million euro ($380.70 million) state aid package for travel group Avoris, the government said on Tuesday, the fourth company to tap the country’s multibillion-euro fund for businesses struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avoris, formed last May through the merger of the Barcelo Group and Globalia’s travel agency and tour operator businesses, generated 4.07 billion euros in sales in 2019 and employs some 6,400 workers.

The rescue package will come from a 10 billion euro government fund to support companies in strategic industries that are considered viable but are experiencing problems due to the coronavirus.

Government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said Avoris was a viable business before the pandemic.

“Avoris’ strategic nature is undeniable, and as a major player in the tourism sector, we are clearly justified in helping it by providing these funds,” she told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

The package will comprise a 157 million euro loan and 163 million euros in hybrid debt convertible into equity.

Avoris must accept a government-appointed non-voting observer to its board and has six years to repay the loans.

Late last year, the government gave the green light for a 475 million euro package for struggling airline Air Europa, which Globalia is in process of selling to IAG, and last week it approved 120 million euros for engineering firm Duro Felguera. Airline Plus Ultra got 53 million euros from the government fund.

$1 = 0.8405 euros Reporting by Nathan Allen, editing by Inti Landauro and Jane Merriman