ANA to unveil restructuring plan as losses mount over virus

Release date: 2020-11-05
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ANA Holdings Inc. plans to temporarily transfer workers to other companies as the Japanese airline faces billions of dollars in losses, forcing it to come up with restructuring measures to survive the plunge in air travel from the pandemic.

The carrier will cut about 3,500 jobs by the fiscal year ending 2022 and will seek to temporarily transfer employees to Toyota Motor Corp. and other automakers, the Yomiuri newspaper reported over the weekend. An ANA spokesman confirmed that employees will be dispatched without providing further details.

The global airline industry is facing a painfully slow recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic as carriers slash jobs and secure funds to ride out the crisis. United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. both posted steep losses, with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. planning to cut thousands of jobs and close a regional carrier. ANA, Japan’s largest carrier, is planning to secure about 400 billion yen ($3.8 billion) in subordinated loans to keep operations afloat.

“It will be necessary to raise new funds immediately” if ANA posts a loss of about 500 billion yen, said Yasuhito Tsuchiya, senior analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley.

ANA’s shares fell as much as 1.5% in early trading in Tokyo. The stock is down about a third this year.

ANA is projected to post a loss of 81 billion yen for the fiscal second quarter that ended in September, versus 45 billion yen in net income a year earlier, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. They predict sales will decline 58% to 231 billion yen. ANA is on track to record a record full-year loss of about 530 billion yen, the Kyodo news agency earlier reported last week.

ANA will also sell about 30 wide-body aircraft because of their low fuel-efficiency and high maintenance costs, the Yomiuri reported. It will also utilize its customer data to offer financial and other services, while arranging code-sharing with its budget carrier, Peach Aviation Ltd., according to the report. In fiscal year 2021, the company will cut about 80 billion yen in costs, the paper said.

The Go To campaign helped support domestic travel, but demand is far from returning to pre-pandemic levels. ANA and Japan Airlines are both forecasting domestic passengers to drop by about 50% this month.

Domestic airline Star Flyer Inc. is considering raising about 10 billion yen in capital, the Yomiuri said in a separate report. ANA is the largest shareholder of Star Flyer and holds 18% of the carrier.

Although event risks such as natural disasters and epidemic are inevitable for the aviation industry, the carriers probably didn’t expect the impact of coronavirus to be this huge, according to Shunsuke Oshida, credit analyst at Manulife Asset Management.

“The difficult part is that we can’t see how much their credit ratings may fall,” Oshida said.

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