The Groundforce Board of Directors today decided to “tear up” the sale and leaseback contract with TAP, according to a statement released Wednesday, April 28th.
These contracts were lopsided and jeopardized the survival of the Groundforce and the jobs of 2,400 workers. For this reason, the company was canceled, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, as well as the company’s largest shareholder, Alfredo Casemiro, said in a statement.
“The Groundforce Board of Directors meeting in which the audit committee, Deloitte auditors and some jurists see that the sale, lease and rent agreements, concluded on March 19, 2005, were null and void. 2021 between Groundforce and says the largest shareholder in the board meeting that began at 6 pm .
Groundforce decided to give TAP a six-month period “to find a solution with the goal of returning contracts in a fair and balanced manner to both parties, thus allowing Groundforce to continue and its future.”
The largest shareholder guarantees that the salaries of May are “truly insured” and it is hoped that “in the coming weeks” it will be possible to have “the security necessary to secure those salaries for the month of June”.
For the future, Pasogal expects to “maintain and develop a healthy relationship with TAP, such as the one that existed between 2012 and 2019, believing that conditions are ripe for a return to normal life, thus confirming the number of trips Eurocontrol and IATA provide and as long as outside interests and TAP protection do not Interfere with the normal performance of the company. “
Groundforce is mainly owned by Pasogal (50.1%), which is owned by businessman Alfredo Casemiro. The remaining 49.9% is owned by the TAP Group, which in turn is 72.5% owned by the Portuguese state. TAP is also Grounforce’s largest customer, accounting for roughly 70% of its operations.
The passenger, baggage and cargo management company at national airports set aside seven million euros from this sale, but had to pay about 460,000 euros per month to the airline. After all, within 15 months, TAP received seven million euros paid to Groundforce, money that allowed the handling company to have enough funds to pay more than two months of salary (part of February was already past due, March and April. ).
This contract stipulated, first of all, the sale of assets to TAP for seven million euros; After that, the airline leased the equipment back to Groundforce so it could keep operating.
Jornal Económico also revealed recentlyThree operators have already indicated to the government their interest in buying Alfredo Casemiro’s stake: the Belgians from Aviapartner, WFS in North America, and the Spaniards from Atitlan.
On April 21, Banco Português de Fomento (BPF) decided not to approve the € 30 million loan requested by the Groundforce Board of Directors to be repaid within six years and an 18-month grace period.
The bank expressed its “reservations about the economic and financial viability of the company and its ability to pay the required credit limit.”
BPF cited the “lack of approval and implementation” of the “deep restructuring” plan, which adapts the cost structure to the realities of new revenues, and with the expected slow recovery of the commercial aviation sector.
In a document cited by Lusa, the bank also highlighted the lack of a guarantee of “strong financial availability for shareholders to cover more than 40 million.” [milhões] Expected losses for the year 2020-2021, thus stabilizing the company’s balance sheet recapitalization over the entire process time horizon. “
In its analysis, BPF also indicated that licenses issued by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) for the ground force to operate at national airports expire between 2023 and 2025.
Last year, 70% of the loan “will still be due, and the company may not be able to operate.”