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Norwegian Air seeks to postpone bond repayments

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OSLO (Reuters) – Budget airline Norwegian Air <NWC.OL> is asking bondholders to extend the maturity of its debt by up to two years, and will in return pledge valuable take-off and landing slots at London Gatwick Airport as a security, it said in Monday.

While the indebted carrier’s operational performance has improved since mid-July, the company’s working capital has decreased this year amid ongoing engine problems and the grounding of its fleet of Boeing MAX aircraft, it added.

Norwegian’s bonds, which mature in December 2019 and August 2020 with a combined outstanding amount of $380 million, will be extended to November 2021 and February 2022 if bondholders accept the revised terms.

The company is Europe’s third-larget budget carrier and a major operator of low-cost transatlantic travel.

“Norwegian’s Gatwick portfolio currently consists of take-off and landing slots which has an independent valuation from a well-reputed third-party in excess of the current nominal bond value,” Norwegian said in a statement.

Negotiations are still ongoing to bring in an outside investor to take a stake in parts of its aicraft fleet, it added.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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