(Bloomberg) -- Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA will give up the low-cost, long-haul operation that made it a household name, returning to its roots as a short-haul airline as it attempts to restructure under Irish insolvency protection.
The discount carrier plans to serve the Nordic and European market with about 50 narrow-body aircraft in 2021, rising to 70 planes next year, Norwegian said Thursday in a statement. It is seeking to raise as much as 5 billion kroner ($590 million) in new capital through a rights issue, a private placement and a hybrid instrument.
Norwegian sought creditor protection in November and secured court approval last month to attempt a last-chance restructuring under Irish examinership. The carrier, which was already struggling before the pandemic, is part of a growing list of more than 40 airlines pushed into insolvency since the Covid-19 crisis upended demand for air travel last year.
Norwegian built a name for itself with its low-cost trans-Atlantic services from London’s Gatwick airport to the U.S., Latin America and even Bangkok. Its rapid growth fueled a debt binge as the carrier ordered new aircraft and opened new routes. Norwegian is now seeking to reduce debt to about 20 billion kroner, it said in the statement.
Under the restructuring plan, current shareholders would hold on to about 5% of the company’s equity. They would also be able to participate in a rights offering of up to 400 milion kroner.
Impaired creditors would receive about a 25% stake, while new investors would receive about 70% of the company through the issuance of new shares or the new hybrid instrument.
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