A US court has approved Scandinavian operator SAS’ entry into a formal investment agreement with Castlelake, Air France-KLM, the Danish government and financing company Lind Invest.

The consortium was the winning bidder in the carrier’s financing solicitation process, completed earlier this month.

SAS Airbus-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

SAS entered an equity-raising scheme as part of its restructuring programme

“The investment agreement that was approved by the court today is a key milestone in our ‘SAS Forward’ plan, and it shows that our new investors believe in SAS and our potential to remain at the forefront of the airline industry for years to come,” SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff said on 21 November.

As part of the company’s restructuring it had initiated an equity solicitation and disclosed on 3 October that it had selected the Castlelake consortium as its investment partner.

The provisional agreement has since been amended to increase the proposed $1.175 billion investment to a total of $1.2 billion.

The exit transaction remains subject to approval in connection with the airline’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection process, the company says. It aims to receive that approval from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in “early 2024”.

“The effectiveness of the transaction will occur upon the fulfilment of certain conditions precedent, including receipt of all relevant regulatory approvals,” SAS says.

SAS had previously entered into a $700 million debtor-in-possession arrangement with Apollo Global Management to support its re-organisation, and drew down the first $350 million tranche in September last year. It subsequently deferred accessing the second $350 million tranche earlier this year, indicating that it had no near-term need for the additional liquidity.