Alfredo Casimiro and TAP lose stake in Groundforce

  • ECO News
  • 21 October 2022

Recovery plan provides for capital reduction down to zero. To be a shareholder, TAP will have to invest again.

Groundforce’s restructuring plan will include a capital reduction down to zero to cover past losses, which will vanish with Alfredo Casimiro and TAP’s stake in the ground handling services company. To become a shareholder again, the airline will have to invest in the capital increase. National Aviation Services, from Kuwait, will become the largest shareholder.

There will be a “capital reduction to zero, through the coverage of past losses and a capital increase reserved for certain shareholders,” Bruno Costa Pereira, one of Groundforce’s insolvency administrators, told ECO. The other is Pedro Pidwell. “With this capital reduction, the shareholders lose their respective capital,” he explained. SPdH, the corporate name of the handling company, is 50.1% owned by Alfredo Casimiro’s Pasogal and 49.9% by TAP (43.9% through TAP SGPS and 6% through Portugália).

It was the airline company that asked for Groundforce’s insolvency due to debt accumulation during Alfredo Casimiro’s reign, with whom it came into conflict. The company was declared insolvent on August 4 by the Commercial Court of the Judicial Court of Lisbon. Bruno Costa Pereira justifies the need to reduce the capital down to zero with the fact that Groundforce presented around €30 million in negative equity at that time.

This solution will have Montepio as a collateral victim, which lent seven million euros to Alfredo Casimiro, receiving Pasogal’s shares in Groundforce as collateral. A guarantee that will no longer have any value. In other words, the bank will no longer have any intervention in the company’s sale, as ECO reported.

To stay in the shareholder structure, TAP has to invest in the capital increase. This is the wish of the insolvency administrator, bearing in mind that the airline is by far Groundforce’s largest customer. However, the airline’s restructuring plan approved by Brussel foresees the end of its shareholding position.

The insolvency administrator says: “the majority of the capital will be held by a private sector shareholder”. That investor is expected to be the National Aviation Services (NAS), a Kuwaiti company chosen for exclusive negotiations to enter the capital.

“It was up to the insolvency administrators to find a private investor capable of providing the company with levels of capital that are compatible with its financial sustainability” and to find the “solution that best maximises credit recovery for the creditor,” says Bruno Costa Pereira.

The final decision will fall to the latter, who will have to approve the restructuring plan proposed by the administrators at a creditors’ meeting. The decision will be in the hands of TAP, which claim €15.5 million, ANA (€12.75 million), Fidelidade (€2.1 million) and the workers (€2.87 million), considering only the actual debts.