Letiste Praha signs CZK 7 billion credit line with bank consortium
Letiste Praha, the Prague airport operator, yesterday signed a CZK 7 billion line of credit with a consortium of banks CSOB, Raiffeisenbank and VUB, and wants to use it to cover losses incurred during the coronavirus crisis, and some planned investments, Prague airport head Jiri Pos said.
Letiste Praha received bids from ten banks in a public tender for the credit line, and the winner submitted the most favourable conditions, including interest rates, Pos said. Neither Pos nor the banks wanted to disclose information on the interest rates.
The airport will be able to draw money until 2024, and repay it in five years. Last year, the airport ended in an operating loss of CZK 687 million, however, it has used its own finances for the most of the crisis.
The money will help the airport with funding mainly for this year and 2022, after which the situation should gradually improve and the airport will start using only its sources, Pos said.
It will cover planned investments which will involve for example taxiways, Pos said.
CSOB considers the Prague airport important Czech infrastructure, and believes that it is attractive, well-managed and strategically important enough that it will overcome the pandemic despite problems that airports around the world are facing, said Jan Lucan from CSOB, explaining the bank's participation in the tender.
It was better to form a consortium, given the loan volume, he added.
The Prague airport will handle about four million passengers this year, and the Letiste Praha company will end in a loss of hundreds of millions of crowns but somewhat lower yr/yr, according to estimates, Pos said.
Vaclav Havel Airport Prague is Czechia's largest airport. In 2019, before the coronavirus crisis, it processed a record 17.8 million passengers, but the number plunged by 79 percent last year over the pandemic.
The crisis also made the airport lay off about 600 employees last year. It had 2,900 employees before the crisis.
The Letiste Praha group consists of the airport and subsidiaries Czech Airlines Handling and Czech Airlines Technics.