Sale of Groundforce may remain in the hands of the insolvency manager


Eric Salard / Wikimedia

The judicial appraisal of Groundforce’s insolvency application made by TAP is still a few months away. Until then, the majority shareholder will have to be able to sell his share, or the decision may pass to the insolvency practitioner.

TAP announced, this Monday, that it was going to move forward, as creditor, with a insolvency application Groundforce, which, according to the online newspaper ECO, has already been admitted to the Judicial Court of the District of Lisbon.

After this request, the judicial appraisal follows, a process that will still take some months. But before that, Paulo Valério, director of the Portuguese Association of Insolvency and Recovery Law, explains to the digital newspaper, the company is still “going to be cited by the Court in the coming days and will have 10 days to oppose insolvency ”.

According to the partner of the law firm VFA, “it is not expected” that there will be a declaration of insolvency “in the next two months”, adding that this forecast is even “optimistic”, “given the degree of litigation that is foreseen” .

This Tuesday, the majority shareholder of the handling, Alfredo Casimiro, already said that the airline’s decision “doesn’t solve the company’s problem, on the contrary, aggravates it and postpones a solution“And also accused the Government of having” two pesos and two measures, if not two faces “.

Until then, the owner of Pasogal is against the clock to sell your position (50.1% of the capital), this is because, if it does not do so and the insolvency is declared, only the insolvency practitioner will be able to do so.

It is recalled that, last Saturday, Casimiro hired the Nomura bank to advise on a possible deal for the sale of its capital, having given instructions to give “special attention” to the Belgian Aviapartner.

According to the same lawyer, nothing prevents the business from moving forward until there is a court decision. Whoever buys his position must, however, guarantee the necessary means to pay creditors and reverse the process.

If this does not happen, the sale will be in the hands of the insolvency practitioner. Paulo Valério explains to ECO that, in the 45 to 60 days following his appointment, “there is a meeting of creditors”, who decide whether “the company is closed and liquidated or subject to a recovery plan”.

As previously reported by the same online newspaper, TAP may not have a say in this case because, as it is both a shareholder and a creditor, its credits would be classibecome subordinate, with voting rights in this meeting “very compromised”.

According to ECO, in addition to the court challenge, Casimiro may also file a Groundforce Special Revitalization Process (PER) to prevent insolvency. For that, it would be necessary to declare a statutory auditor to declare that the company is solvent, as well as a creditor with 10% of the liabilities that were available to negotiate.

After the announcement of TAP, the Government assured the unions that there will be no redundancies at Groundforce and that the airline has a “clear intention to keep the company and all jobs“.

Until there is a court decision, the insurance company handling maintains its normal functioning, as highlighted by the carrier in this Monday’s statement.

“It is essential to underline that, while the judicial assessment of the application submitted by TAP is ongoing, the activity of Groundforce and the services it provides at Portuguese airports is fully maintained, and it is in everyone’s interest that these services may continue to operate. proceed with normality and the usual quality. ”

And, as the Diário de Notícias highlights, this is not going to be a summer like 2019 yet, but the sector believes that it will be better than last year, since there is already a slice of the population in Europe vaccinated .

Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which in 2020 became 72.5% owned by the State and which is a minority shareholder and the main customer of the company that provides assistance at Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo airports.