Thai govt cuts Thai Airways stake to below 51% as part of restructuring plan

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BANGKOK, May 23 (Reuters) – The Thai government lowered its equity ownership in Thai Airways International PcL to below 51% by selling a 3.2% stake, a regulatory filing showed, as part of the rehabilitation process for the troubled national carrier.

The Thai Finance Ministry offloaded 69.2 million shares to a mutual fund run by state-owned Krung Thai Bank PcL, a Finance Ministry filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday showed. The filing did not disclose the sale price.

The sale reduced the Thai government stake in Thai Airways to 47.86% from 51.03%, ending the airline’s status as a state-owned enterprise, one of the steps included in the restructuring plan of the national carrier.

Under Thai law, state-owned companies are governed by a set of management and labour regulations more rigid and restrictive than private companies.

Thailand’s cabinet earlier this week approved a plan to restructure the airline’s finances through a bankruptcy court after rejecting an initial plan to bail out the company through emergency loans.

The airline would continue to operate as usual while the restructuring takes place, the company said.

Thai Airways has been in financial trouble even before the outbreak of the coronavirus as it posted losses every year after 2012, except in 2016. (Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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