'Amicable' Viasa liquidation agreed

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Shareholders in Venezuela's Viasa have agreed to go ahead with an "amicable" liquidation of the failed flag carrier, which leaves the door open for a relaunch.

Viasa was forced to cease operations at the end of January, in the face of mounting losses and lack of cash, while shareholders attempted to put a deal in place to avoid a protracted outright bankruptcy.

Iberia, the major shareholder, with 45%, will put $9 million towards the cost of restructuring and will exchange $30 million of debt for new shares. Viasa's fleet would be transferred to Iberia.

The Venezuelan airline was provided with five Boeing 727-200s by Iberia. One was on lease and the others were sold, although no payment was made. The carrier also has four McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30s, worth around $50 million, which were put up as security for loans from Iberia.

Venezuela's national investment fund, which owns 30%of Viasa, and the country's Banco Provincial, which holds 15%, have agreed to raise another $11 million towards restructuring, and invest around $30 million.