June 29, 2020 / 7:03 PM / a month ago

Financially distressed Aeromexico gets $50 million lifeline

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Aeromexico is pictured inside Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City, Mexico July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican airline Aeromexico (AEROMEX.MX), which is in the process of analyzing its options for restructuring its short- and medium-term financial commitments, was thrown a $50 million financial lifeline on Monday by investment holding company Aimia Inc (AIM.TO).

Aeromexico’s shares tanked earlier in June after a newspaper column said it was considering filing for bankruptcy, though the airline later clarified it had not decided whether to seek Chapter 11 protections in the United States.

Aeromexico and Aimia said in separate statements they inked a definitive agreement to amend a shareholders agreement between them and a commercial agreement between Aeromexico and PLM Premier, the operator of the Club Premier loyalty program.

PLM made an initial $50 million loan to Aeromexico under an existing intercompany loan facility after the signing of a letter of intent between Aimia and Aeromexico announced on May 12.

“An additional $50 million advance to Aeromexico by PLM through pre-purchases of award tickets was provided with the execution of the amendments to the commercial agreement. This financial support totals $100 million and is secured by Aeromexico’s stake in PLM,” the firms said.

Aeromexico and Aimia said they will explore options to leverage PLM’s debt-free balance sheet and cash flows to provide additional resources to shareholders, including a potential leveraged recapitalization of PLM’s balance sheet.

“We are very pleased to be in a position to utilize the robust cash flow and financial attributes of PLM to support our airline partner during this challenging time,” said Aimia’s Chief Executive Phil Mittleman.

As part of the agreement, Aeromexico was granted a seven-year option to purchase Aimia’s 48.9% equity interest in PLM.

U.S. airline Delta (DAL.N) has a 49% stake in Aeromexico.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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