Debt moratorium looms for Exel Aviation

31st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The embattled Exel Aviation Group (EAG) will probably request a moratorium on debt repayments in the coming days, company owner Erik de Vlieger has warned.

31 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The embattled Exel Aviation Group (EAG) will probably request a moratorium on debt repayments in the coming days, company owner Erik de Vlieger has warned.

De Vlieger told daily newspaper De Telegraaf on Monday that the company's debts are rising significantly on a daily basis. He accused justice officials of placing the company in difficulty by involving him in criminal investigations.

The real estate, aviation and media tycoon was held by police in Amsterdam last week for several days on suspicion of extortion at a city café. De Vlieger denies the allegations, but claims EAG suppliers cancelled lenient repayment arrangements due to his arrest.

The chief of the Dutch pilots union VNC, Henri Popelier, explained further that EAG will probably be confronted in the near future with demands for immediate repayment. "Things will then go quickly downhill for the company," he said.

EAG has been struggling financially for some time, but employees were left in the dark about the looming debt moratorium. Unions said staff only learned about the looming collapse of the company from newspaper reports, news agency ANP reported.

The airline group recently announced "drastic measures" to restore its profitability, but De Vlieger contradicted this by saying that the company will soon need to request a suspension on payments. "It is not wise to continue," he said.

De Vlieger recently announced his decision to offer up for sale to present management his business interests — grouped under the name Imca Group — due to ongoing negative publicity and the judicial investigations.

He has also indicated willingness to re-invest heavily into EAG as a shareholder to rescue the company.

The 45-year-old's business partner and director of EAG subsidiary Dutchbird, Harm P., was recently arrested for money laundering, forgery and fraud. EAG has since gained a "nasty smell", Popelier said. De Vlieger has also said that judicial inquiries have made it impossible to continue in business.

Travel agencies have reassured anyone booked to fly with EAG that their planned trips will go ahead as scheduled.

Amsterdam Court declared Dutchbird bankrupt last week, resulting in the loss of employment for 250 workers. The airline was granted a suspension on repayments at the end of December 2004, but talks with all potential investors have since stalled.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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