The main shareholder of Groundforce announced this Saturday, in a statement, that it had hired Nomura bank to advise on the sale of Pasogal’s 50.1% stake in the handling Groundforce, and asked for “special attention” to the possible deal with Aviapartner.
On the availability of Pasogal to sell its stake in Groundforce, 49.9% held by the TAP group, Alfredo Casimiro says “confirm” that he hired Banco Nomura to assist the sale.
“I have given instructions to be given special attention to Aviapartner, a Belgian company that has recently benefited from relevant economic and financial support from the Belgian State, in the scope of extraordinary aid to the aviation sector, with a view to mitigating the consequences of the pandemic crisis, ”he says in the statement.
Through this support, he adds, Aviapartner “will be better capitalized and better able to guarantee” the future viability of Groundforce and the maintenance of jobs.
“I cannot, however, express my perplexity and dismay at the difference in treatment that the same problem deserved from the governments of the two countries: while Belgium supported its companies, in Portugal, Groundforce saw all the requests for assistance that it addressed to various entities failed, with the State itself leading this veto, even though it acknowledged that the only company in the TAP Group that was involved was concerned. profit in recent years“, He added.
The chairman of the board of directors of Pasogal points out that, as a Portuguese businessman, “this hostility and persecution is even more shocking” when he says he sees potential buyers of Pasogal’s stake in Groundforce “having the liquidity to do so, precisely because they benefit from support from your State and your Government, support that in this very particular context has always been lacking.
At the end of April, the Groundforce Board of Directors approved the cancellation of the contract with TAP, which had allowed the company to invest around seven million euros with the sale of assets, claiming that the contract, as it is structured, makes the company’s operation unfeasible.
Groundforce’s board of directors is composed of three directors appointed by Pasogal, by Alfredo Casimiro, and two by TAP (minority shareholder).
With the agreement, signed on March 19, TAP bought Groundforce equipment for around seven million euros, a short-term solution that allowed the company’s most urgent problems to be solved, such as paying the salaries of February and March in delay to 2,400 workers, while there is no solution for the remaining funds it needs, to deal with the damage caused by the pandemic.
This agreement, which also predicts that Groundforce will pay 461,762 euros monthly TAP for the rental of the equipment it needs for the operation and which the company purchased from it, was reached with the favorable votes of the two Groundforce managers appointed by TAP, joined by the executive president of the handling company, Paulo Neto Leite , who however, on April 5, was removed from the position of CEO and replaced in the position by Alfredo Casimiro, but who remained as a non-executive director.
For his part, the president of Pasogal, Alfredo Casimiro, abstained and the other director appointed by Pasogal, Gonçalo Carvalho, voted against the agreement to provisionally unblock the impasse in the company.
Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which in 2020 became 72.5% owned by the Portuguese State and which is a minority shareholder and the main client of the company that provides assistance at Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo airports.