Latam Airlines Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection In U.S.

Latam Airlines Group S.A. (LTM) and its affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the U.S. have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global aviation industry.

The Latin American airline said that it has secured up to $900 million in financing from the Cueto and Amaro families and Qatar Airways, two of its largest shareholders. As of the Chapter 11 filing, the group had about $1.3 billion in cash on hand.

During the debt restructuring process, Latam and its affiliates will continue flying as conditions permit, the airline said.

Commercial airline travel has fallen off a cliff due to coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions forcing many global airlines around the world to ground the majority of their fleets, suspend aircraft deliveries, and streamline operations.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLAKY) on Monday announced that it has reached an agreement with the German government on a €9 billion ($9.8 billion) bailout package, while earlier this month Colombian Avianca Holdings (AVH) filed for bankruptcy protection.

“Latam entered the COVID-19 pandemic as a healthy and profitable airline group, yet exceptional circumstances have led to a collapse in global demand and has not only brought aviation to a virtual standstill, but it has also changed the industry for the foreseeable future,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO of Latam. “We have implemented a series of difficult measures to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented industry disruption, but ultimately this path represents the best option to lay the right foundation for the future of our airline group.”

Latam and its affiliates said that they are also in discussions with their respective governments of Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru to seek sourcing additional financing, protect jobs where possible and minimize disruption to its operations.

Shares in the air carrier fell $4.8% to $2.58 as of Friday in U.S. trading taking the year-to-date plunge to 75%.

TipRanks data shows that three out of five analysts releasing a review over the past month downgraded the stock’s rating to Hold. The $3.40 average analyst price target implies 32% upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Latam Airlines stock analysis on TipRanks).

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