Liverpool JLA seeks refinance

THE two shareholders of Liverpool John Lennon Airport may have to put in more cash as part of a refinancing deal.

Recently-filed accounts for parent company Vantage Airports UK Limited show it has agreed a standstill deal until March on debts of £78.9m due to HSH Nordbank and Export Development Canada.

This means they will not call in the debt during this period, but the directors say new facilities will require a partial repayment, involving a cash injection from the two shareholders, Canada-based Vantage Airport Group (UK) and Peel Investments (PAH) which own 65% and 35% respectively.

A directors’ report for subsidiary Liverpool Airport Ltd states: “The directors have received indications that the group shareholders collectively will provide the necessary support that will enable the group to pay its liabilities as they fall due for repayment for at least 12 months from these financial statements.”

They admit that the debt situation represents a “material uncertainty” but conclude that “the directors have a reasonable expectation that the group and company has resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.”

During the year to March group turnover slipped 17% to £38.2m and the business was left with a pre-tax loss of £24.7m, down from £29m last time. Contributing factors were £18.7m in finance charges and a £4.8m loss on the disposal of Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster in December 2012.

The accounts show passenger numbers fell by 16% to 4.3 million, although in a separate statement the airport said numbers were up by 10% in the first week of January.

It expects the increase to continue as it has an additional 12 departures scheduled compared to the first full week last year.