Banks, Kenyan Gov't Now Own 87% of Kenya Airways

Kenya plans to increase its stake in the national airline from 29.8 percent to 48.9 percent as part of efforts to revive the loss-making firm, a senior government official said on Monday. The state has given the carrier a loan in shilling and U.S. dollars totalling US$238.1 million and previously held a 29.8 per cent stake.

The Government noted that it had loaned Kenya Airways KES 4.2 billion, United States dollars 197.3 million and accrued interest, as part of the deal some of the debt will be converted as part of the new 19.1 percent equity issued and the remaining portion of the loans will be settled through a zero coupon mandatory conversion loan that will lead to the issuance of new ordinary shares in the future.

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The airline is undergoing a $700 million financial restructuring aimed at reducing its debts and returning to profitability after posting heavy losses, including Kenya's biggest annual corporate loss of 26 billion shillings ($251 million) in the financial year 2016. Both the government and the lenders still have outstanding portions of debt to be converted at a later date, they said.

The deal gives 11 local banks a 38.1 percent stake, which will be held in a special goal vehicle called KQ Lenders Co. "It is a hefty dilution but a lot of people knew it was coming", said Aly Khan Satchu, an independent trader and analyst.

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