Brussels wants to examine Corsair’s restructuring plan

Corsair is in turmoil again. The European Commission announced, Monday February 5, the opening of an in-depth investigation into the terms of the restructuring plan of the airline specializing in overseas routes, presented on December 18. State aid is in the sights of Brussels, which will study whether or not it violates the sector’s competition rules: to bail itself out, Corsair has in fact asked the public authorities to abandon or renounce 147 million euros of tax and social debt. This recapitalization had already been presented in Brussels in 2020. At the time, the amount of restructuring amounted to nearly 137 million euros.

” Move along, nothing to see “, sweeps away Pascal de Izaguirre, CEO of Corsaire. According to him, the bailout of his company is not called into question by the European investigation. “This is not a surprise, but a classic process, and in fact we expected ithe says. We have an agreement in principle with the State. We have every confidence in our case that he will defend. »

If the European Union (EU) approves the transaction, Corsair’s shareholding will be considerably modified. The pool of overseas tourism players and the OMRP holding company, which took over Corsair in 2020, should be diluted. The Marietton group, main shareholder of Havas Voyages, already a 10% shareholder in the company, should put its hand in its pocket – around 10 million euros – to increase its stake to around 18%, according to our information . He will then become the company’s first private investor.

The Republic of Congo will be confined below 40%. EU legislation requires that an air carrier offering services on the Old Continent cannot be more than 50% controlled by non-European shareholders.

“French-African” funds

In mid-December 2023, Corsair was saved, at the last minute, thanks to a somewhat surprising financing round. To replenish its equity, the company was not able to completely rely on its traditional overseas investors, who only contributed 15 million euros, compared to 30 million euros in 2020. To complete, Mr. de Izaguirre contacted Congo-Brazzaville, chaired since 1997 by Denis Sassou Nguesso, who agreed to pay 15 million euros to acquire a stake in his company.

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Before doing business with Congo, the boss of Corsair had worked to tour the former “Françafrique” to solicit funds, accompanied by Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the advisory council of the French airline.

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