Thai considers selling Nok stake
Thai Airways is considering selling its 39% stake in LCC Nok Airlines as part of a group wide effort to reduce its debt burden.
Thai Airways International president Charumporn Jotikasthira told Reuters that the company was looking to sell 15.5 billion baht (US$481 million) of non-core assets to reduce its massive debt burden. As well as Nok, other potential sales include a 23% holding in Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services, as well as land and hotels.
Thai Airways has debt of US$5.9 billion and recently announced a restructuring programme that will reduce its fleet size from 101 jets to 77 by the end of the year. Older models, including the Airbus A340 and Boeing 747, will leave the fleet.
There will also be a voluntary retirement programme. Jotikasthira said the sharp drop in fuel prices may be enough to return it to operating profit this year, but the disposal programme would be needed to cover restructuring costs.