LIAT gets state money for overdue wages, courts investors

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LIAT gets state money for overdue wages, courts investors

Unread post by bimjim » ... -investors

LIAT gets state money for overdue wages, courts investors

The government of Antigua and Barbuda transferred USD1 million to the administrator of dormant LIAT (LI, Antigua) to pay for the overdue salaries for July to the carrier's staff, The Antigua Observer has reported.

Administrator Cleveland Seaforth said that he expected at least some of the overdue salaries to be paid out in the coming days, although he underlined that the process was challenging on the formal side. Given LIAT's dormancy, the airline had to set up new banking accounts and start new procedures for paying its staff.

Seaforth clarified that the sum was only due to cover July saiaries. Wages for May and June 2020, many of which are also overdue, have been registered as liabilities when the carrier entered its administration in late July. They will be settled as part of the carrier's court-overseen restructuring.

In August, the airline temporarily laid off around a quarter of its remaining 166 staff members. Seaforth underlined that the redundancies were for either three or six months. Any permanent lay offs would have to be approved by the court.

Meanwhile, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne said during a parliamentary hearing that the airline's owners were now courting investors and saw significant interest.

"There is one entity that has offered I believe US$25 million investment for 51% of the shares. There is another airline, a regional airline that offered to invest about USD25 million for about 60% of the shares in LIAT and there are at least three governments who have shown some interest in investing in LIAT," Browne said, as reported by the Carribean Media Corporation.

He added that while the current shareholders would prefer to secure a major investor from within the Caribbean, they were also willing to look beyond the region if necessary. Browne disclosed that an unnamed African entity showed interest in LIAT.

Antigua has previously put the cost of restructuring LIAT at XCD108 million East Caribbean dollars (USD40 million) of which 50% will come from the Antiguan government with the remainder expected to come via other shareholder governments or even private investors. Until recently, the airline's major owners were the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The latter two countries, however, have recently agreed to sell their stakes to Antigua, which is set to become LIAT's major shareholder. A further seven Caribbean countries, as well as various financial institutions and labour unions, hold minority stakes in the airline.
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