Air Canada said that it recently closed two additional financing transactions for net proceeds of $1.23 billion. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, Air Canada has raised $5.5 billion of liquidity.
On June 22, 2020, Air Canada completed a private offering of $840 million aggregate principal amount of 9.00% Second Lien Secured Notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”), which were sold at 98% of par.
The 2024 Notes are secured obligations of Air Canada, secured on a second lien basis by certain real estate interests, ground service equipment, certain airport slots and gate leaseholds, and certain routes and the airport slots and gate leaseholds utilized in connection with those routes.
Earlier in June, Air Canada completed a private offering of one tranche of Class C EETCs with a combined aggregate face amount of approximately US$315 million, which were sold at 95.002% of par. The Class C tranche ranks junior to the previously issued Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs, and is secured by liens on the 27 aircraft financed under the Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs. The Class C EETCs have an interest rate of 10.500% per annum, and a final expected distribution date of July 15, 2026.
Pierre Houle, managing director and treasurer of Air Canada, said: “The fact Air Canada was able to add $1.23 billion to its liquidity with these last two transactions without utilizing any of its previously disclosed unencumbered assets leaves the airline in an excellent position to access additional funds should the need arise. Complementing these efforts have been ongoing initiatives to reduce cash burn through such measures as workforce reductions, a $1.1 billion Cost Transformation Program and capacity and network rationalization.”
In addition to these more recent financings, Air Canada also concluded the following financing transactions in 2020:
* In March 2020, Air Canada drew down its US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities for aggregate proceeds of $1.03 billion.
- In April 2020, Air Canada concluded a 364-day term loan in the amount of US$600 million, secured by aircraft and spare engines, for proceeds of $829 million.
- In late April 2020, Air Canada concluded a bridge financing of $788 million for 18 Airbus A220 aircraft which Air Canada expects to replace with longer-term secured financing arrangements later in 2020.
- In June 2020, Air Canada concluded an underwritten marketed public offering of 35,420,000 Class A Variable Voting Shares and/or Class B Voting Shares of the Company at a price to the public of $16.25 per share, for aggregate proceeds of $575.6 million, and a concurrent marketed private placement of convertible senior unsecured notes due 2025 for aggregate proceeds of US$747.5 million ($1.01 billion).
Houle said: “We entered 2020 on the doorstep of investment grade with a very strong balance sheet, low net leverage and significant liquidity, before the COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed quarantines and border restrictions destroyed demand and depleted cash. Air Canada’s strong relative position has allowed us to navigate through this crisis and we have full confidence that we will be successful in maintaining liquidity at levels more than sufficient to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities ahead. With these latest transactions, Air Canada has now raised approximately $5.5 billion in 2020 and expects to end the second quarter of 2020 with at least $9 billion in liquidity.”
Air Canada is utilizing the net proceeds from these transactions to supplement its working capital and for other general corporate purposes. The net proceeds from the financings will serve to increase Air Canada’s cash position, thereby allowing for additional flexibility both from an operational standpoint and in the implementation of its planned mitigation and recovery measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air Canada’s unencumbered asset pool (excluding the value of Aeroplan and Air Canada Vacations) amounts to approximately $2.5 billion at current exchange rates. Air Canada will continue to explore financing arrangements should additional liquidity be required or to refinance existing debt to push out maturities.