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World Air France-KLM CFO Rejects Any Talk of Carrier’s Breakup

18:20  30 october  2020
18:20  30 october  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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(Bloomberg) -- Air France-KLM Chief Financial Officer Frederic Gagey rejected any talk of a breakup of the Franco-Dutch carrier, saying the decade-and-a-half-old union will help the company get through the Covid-19 health crisis.

Frédéric Gagey wearing a suit and tie: Frederic Gagey, chief financial officer of Air France-KLM Group, pauses during the airline's full year earnings news conference in Roissy, France, on Thursday, Feb. 20. 2020. Air France-KLM warned the coronavirus outbreak will wipe as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) from earnings, hammering home the financial impact of the crisis even thousands of miles from its epicenter in China. © Bloomberg Frederic Gagey, chief financial officer of Air France-KLM Group, pauses during the airline's full year earnings news conference in Roissy, France, on Thursday, Feb. 20. 2020. Air France-KLM warned the coronavirus outbreak will wipe as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) from earnings, hammering home the financial impact of the crisis even thousands of miles from its epicenter in China.

Splitting the French and Dutch arms wouldn’t benefit either side, Gagey said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg TV. He added that he didn’t understand how anyone could think it would, despite tensions that have periodically sprung up.

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“The cooperation, in spite of what you read here and there, is extremely deep,” Gagey said. “The two teams work together on a daily basis in excellent conditions.”

Gagey was responding to comments from French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, who told Bloomberg News this week that the airline’s future as a combined company will be tested by talks on injecting needed equity. The discussions between top shareholders France and the Netherlands will raise fundamental questions about the way Air France-KLM is structured, the minister said.

Frédéric Gagey wearing a suit and tie: Frederic Gagey, chief financial officer of Air France-KLM Group, pauses during the airline's full year earnings news conference in Roissy, France, on Thursday, Feb. 20. 2020. Air France-KLM warned the coronavirus outbreak will wipe as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) from earnings, hammering home the financial impact of the crisis even thousands of miles from its epicenter in China. © Bloomberg Frederic Gagey, chief financial officer of Air France-KLM Group, pauses during the airline's full year earnings news conference in Roissy, France, on Thursday, Feb. 20. 2020. Air France-KLM warned the coronavirus outbreak will wipe as much as 200 million euros ($216 million) from earnings, hammering home the financial impact of the crisis even thousands of miles from its epicenter in China.

The company’s shareholding structure is complex, giving the Dutch side some independence, and a bitter spat erupted between the nations when the Netherlands stealthily amassed a stake to match that of the French government. While there can always be improvement in they way Air France and KLM work together, they cooperate daily, Gagey said.

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Air France-KLM warned Friday of a worsening outlook for the company and the industry amid a resurgence of the pandemic in Europe. That’s built pressure on both governments to find agreement on a recapitalization.

“One day or another we’ll have to solve the question of the equity of the group,” Gagey said. “We’re working on it, but it’s a ultimately a discussion and a decision of the main shareholders.”

Read more:
Pandemic Thrusts Politics Into Air France-KLM Survival PlanAir France-KLM Slashes Year-End Capacity on Pandemic Surge (2)How Safe Is Flying in the Age of Coronavirus?: QuickTake

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