Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court has set two additional hearing dates to decide whether the country’s flag carrier should be granted its request for business rehabilitation.
After its must-anticipated first day in court on 17 August, Thai Airways said in a same-day filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the court requires two additional dates, 20 August and 25 August, “whereby the company’s witnesses shall be called in the presence of the court”.
Chansin Treenuchagron, Thai’s acting president, says in the statement that the hearing was “smooth and promising”, adding that there were “only” seven lawyers representing creditors who raised objections. He adds that none of the objections were troubling because they are issues that Thai Airways can “explain to achieve the correct understanding”.
Chansin adds that “many” creditors, including Thailand’s finance ministry, have signed a letter of support for the rehabilitation and did not object to the nominated rehabilitation planners. This, he says, accounted for more than 50% of the debt amount listed in the airline’s second quarter 2020 financial statements.
He goes further to say that he “believes that Thai Airways has fully presented evidence to the court that Thai Airways deserves rehabilitation. However, it must be up to the discretion of the Central Bankruptcy Court how and when to order”.
According to media reports, one of the rehabilitation planners, EY Corporate Advisory Services, received criticism at the hearing.
The Bangkok Post reported on 18 August that creditors “extensively” questioned the technical experience of the company, while the Nikkei Asian Review on 17 August cited a lawyer who raised doubts over the credentials of EY’s board members.
The Bangkok Post report states that 16 “mostly small” creditors opposed the plan, particularly on issues concerning ticket refunds. These included Vajira Hospital Cooperative and Dhipaya Life Assurance.
The report also cites the airline’s independent director Piyasvasti Amranand as saying that Thai had been in talks with “several” financial institutions that showed their willingness to extend financial support to the airline.
Thai Airways says that if the process is completed and the court orders the airline to enter rehabilitation, it will set up a plan under its legal department to notify all creditors about the registration procedure for filing an application for debt repayment. It will also invite creditors to hear details of the rehabilitation plan.