William Malcolm

Smartwings Group Seeks CZK 900 Million Bailout

Smartwings Group is seeking a CZK 900 million state loan or loan guarantee. The group’s owners Czech Unimex Group and Chinese state-owned CITIC Group will also invest one billion crowns, Lidovky reports.

The company, which employs 2,500 people, gained hope on Thursday to survive its worst crisis to date. The shareholders of Smartwings, which includes the former state-owned company CSA, have approved a financial model to rescue the company. State aid in the form of a loan or loan guarantee will not have to be as high as initially expected.

Smartwings will apply for approximately CZK 900 million, in the form of a state loan or loan guarantee. In exchange, the government could gain a seat on the Supervisory Board, or the opportunity to influence Smartwings strategy in the future.

The shareholders also agreed to raise an additional CZK 1.8 billion from external sources. And they want to create a half-billion “cushion” to guard against possible future shutdowns due to coronavirus.

“All shareholders of the company are ready, provided a comprehensive agreement is reached by all three parties, including the state, to contribute financially to the rescue of the company,” said Smartwings spokeswoman Vladimíra Dufková on Thursday after the general meeting. At the meeting, the owners also approved the aviation group’s financial model for this year and next.