UPDATE 3-Delta, Gol boost air accord in $446 mln stock, debt deal

viernes 10 de julio de 2015 20:05 GYT

(Adds comment by Gol CFO, details about planned share sale)

By Alberto Alerigi

SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) - U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines Inc will expand its alliance with Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas Intelligentes SA under a $446 million stock and loan agreement, Gol said on Friday in a statement.

Under the accord, Gol's controlling shareholder, Brazilian investment fund FIP Volluto, will buy up to $90 million and Delta up to $56 million of new Gol preferred stock. Delta will also guarantee third-party loans to Gol of up to $300 million, the statement said.

Gol plans to borrow the money this year, depending on market conditions, Edmar Lopes Neto, the company's chief financial officer, told investors on a conference call Friday. The loan will have a counter-guarantee of shares in Smiles, Gol's frequent-flyer plan, Gol said.

"It's always important to bolster the company's liquidity," Lopes Neto said. "It's not a short-term question because if we look at our debt profile, there is no growing cash need in the short term, and by short-term I mean 12 months."

According to the most recent number released by Gol, the Brazilian airline has a cash position of 2.4 billion reais ($1.1 billion).

Since 2012, Gol has sold stakes to Delta and Air France-KLM SA as it raised funds to add foreign routes and invest in a turnaround strategy after years of heavy losses.

Gol preferred shares have fallen more than 20 percent in the last two weeks and are down more than 50 percent this year.   Continuación...