China buys Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air is the largest airline in the country

A dramatic debt restructuring, where leasing companies and lenders have taken over control of the company by exchanging liabilities for shares, has allowed struggling Norwegian Air, the country’s largest airline, to stay afloat and qualify for state loans.

The Chinese government has become one of largest shareholders in deeply troubled Norwegian Air following a debt-to-equity plan.

The aircraft leasing firm BOC Aviation, which is headquartered in Singapore, is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and can be linked to the Chinese state via a long chain of ownership, now holds nearly 13 percent of all Norwegian’s shares. Via a series of firms and banks, BOC Aviation is controlled by China Investment Corp, which is wholly owned by the People’s Republic of China, the press-release said.

The settlement, designed to save Norwegian from bankruptcy, was based on the plan that those who lease the aircraft in effect take over the company. BOC Aviation, which is currently the world’s ninth largest airline leasing company, owns over 360 aircraft from various manufacturers. Five of Norwegian’s latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft were delivered by BOC Aviation.

The Irish-registered leasing company Aercap Holdings emerged as the largest single shareholder in Norwegian, holding a 15.9 percent stake.

more at