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LONDON, February 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Hungarian largest state air company Malev, now under protection of the law on bankruptcy, conducts talks with Russian Vneshekonombank on a large credit to resume its operations.
Business quarters of the European Union reported on Sunday that the Malev leadership requested a loan of 120 million US dollars from Vneshekonombank to resume regular flights from Budapest.
Vneshekonombank is Malev’s minority shareholder, controlling only five percent of the air company’s capital.
According to available information, the talks between the leadership of the air company and the Russian bank “are going on with difficulties”. Nevertheless, the sides continue consultations, and another series of meetings is planned in Moscow and Budapest next week.
The money is to be used for leasing airliners so that the company could return to the home and world markets at the earliest.
While waiting for a credit, the company leadership is carrying out sweeping restructuring. According to plans, out of 2,600 officers of the Malev Group, 2,080 people will be discharged or temporarily sent on an unlimited and unpaid leave.
The company’s debts now amount to 271 million dollars. The Budapest commercial court permitted Malev (with its ruling of February 2) to make use of a law on protection from immediate bankruptcy. As a result, the company received some time to try to carry out restructuring and to return to the market. Otherwise, it is subject to selling.
Malev’s present difficulties were largely caused by European Union rules, forbidding a state to subsidize national air companies.