Air New Zealand defers cash call for second time, aims for Q1 2022

Aug 13 (Reuters) - Air New Zealand Ltd on Friday delayed a planned capital raise for the second time this year, as uncertainty around COVID-19 forced the government to back out of investing at the moment.

The government has promised to take part in an equity raise at a later date to maintain its majority shareholding in the national flag carrier, Air New Zealand said, pushing back its cash call to the first quarter of 2022 from an earlier target of September.

With the pandemic battering airlines globally, the company earlier this month forecast a bigger annual loss as it braced for a hit from the suspension of a quarantine-free travel arrangement between the archipelago and Australia.

Separately, the company also said on Friday it expects to repay the entire amount drawn under a loan facility with the government after it is recapitalised. ($1 = 1.4284 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Riya Sharma; Editing by Devika Syamnath)