Air Austral, the Reunionese airline, has received approval for its restructuring plan from the commercial court of Saint-Denis.
The plan, which includes a recapitalization of its shareholder Sematra and the takeover of private shareholders, was given the green light on January 15th, 2023.
The company had previously received approval from the European Commission for public aid from France during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The restructuring plan includes changes to the company’s structure, which resemble a partial privatization. A group of around 30 investors known as Run Air, who will control 55% of the company’s shares, will contribute 30 million euros and 25 million from its shareholder Sematra, which includes 15 million from the regional council of La Réunion, 5 million from the department and 5 million from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry La Reunion.
This will thus allow the investors to take control of the airline who have promised to save the Reunionese company.
According to Cyrille Melchior, President of the Departmental Council, this will allow Air Austral to “regain its influence while allowing the full implementation of departmental ambitions in terms of tourism, agriculture, through freight, support for Reunionese youth in mobility, and strengthening regional cooperation”.
However, Sematra will only represent 45% of Air Austral’s share capital compared to 55% for Run Air. The airline will no longer have a management board with a chairman at its head, but a supervisory board “of which 5 seats will go to Sematra and 7 to 8 seats to Run Air”, Joseph Bréma, CEO of Air Austral, said.
“On behalf of all the company’s employees, I would like to thank the French State for their profound support, our reference shareholder SEMATRA and all of our banking partners for their renewed presence at our side, but also our future shareholders, grouped under the name of Run Air, for their valuable commitment,” said Joseph Bréma, CEO of Air Austral. “This key step will now enable us to look to the future with more serenity. The company can thus continue to implement its restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the sustainability of its activities” he added.