Pedrosa to buy Neeleman’s shares at TAP to avoid nationalization

  • ECO News
  • 30 June 2020

There is an alternative to TAP's nationalization. Humberto Pedrosa is negotiating the purchase of David Neeleman's position for about 45 million euros. Deal can be closed today.

The government is working on TAP’s nationalization after David Neeleman, one of the company’s private shareholders, refused the conditions for the state to proceed with the injection of 1,200 million euros, but there may still be a turnaround this Tuesday: Humberto Pedrosa is closing the terms for the purchase of David Neeleman’s position at Atlantic Gateway, the private company that owns 45% of TAP, for a value of around 45 million euros, and the deal can be concluded in the next few hours.

The alternative to the Government’s Plan B – the nationalization – is to ensure that David Neeleman will no longer be a shareholder in the airline. The state has 50% of TAP, Atlantic Gateway has 45% and the workers the other 5%. Negotiations are taking place this Tuesday afternoon and this deal is the last possibility to avoid nationalization. “If Neeleman sells, he will have the chance to cash in about 45 million euros now instead of waiting for a decision from the [arbitral] court to see whether or not he can recover the 217 million euros of supplementary payments that Atlantic Gateway has put into TAP,” a source familiar with the negotiations told ECO.

The last 24 hours have been of intense negotiations. In the morning, David Neeleman said to Lusa that he was unwilling to accept the most important condition of the government: to transform 217 million euros of supplementary payments into capital. According to the agreement signed with the state, when António Costa demanded to have 50% of TAP, the private sector was given the possibility of receiving this 217 million in the case of nationalisation. During the late afternoon and evening, TAP’s board of directors met and, faced with the proposal to inject 1,200 million euros and the respective conditions, the directors appointed by Atlantic Gateway abstained and the proposal was not approved. Following this deadlock, the government activated Plan B, the company’s nationalization. But there was still a glimmer of hope for an agreement, which involves the departure of Neeleman.

If there is no agreement, the government has already ready the decree on the nationalisation of the company, which will go ahead no later than Thursday, the day of the Council of Ministers.