Boeing has raised $ 25 billion in massive debt sales, which allows it to not use the $ 17 billion talonavirus fund intended to prop up businesses that are important to national security.
Massive bond sales significantly increased Boeing’s chances of escaping the crisis without direct government support. Refusing a fund means that the company does not need to give ownership to the government, a requirement which the executive says will not be accepted.
But that also probably means that Boeing investors will not get dividends for some time because the company pays its debts. Boeing now has more debt than New Zealand, according to an analysis by the securities division of Bank of America.
The Boeing executive said the capital market had increased significantly since the stock market crashed in early March, and that it made it easier to sell bonds.
“Strong demand for offers reflects strong support for the long-term strength of Boeing and the aviation industry,” the company said in a statement. “This is also partly the result of confidence in the market created by the CARES Act and the federal support program that has been put in place – a proof of the Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve.
Federal funds can still be screened to some of the company’s 17,000 suppliers; Boeing has suggested the broader aerospace manufacturing industry must receive at least $ 60 billion to see it through the crisis. The $ 17 billion fund for the national security business sees relatively little interest from public companies because of conditions attached to funding, a Pentagon official told Reuters this week. However, around 20 private companies expressed interest.
The sale of private bonds came just days after Boeing withdrew from a planned deal worth $ 4.2 billion to acquire Brazilian space manufacturer Embraer.
On Wednesday, Boeing reported losing $ 1.7 billion in the first quarter, with revenue of $ 16.9 billion, a 26% decrease from the previous year.
The company reports that costs related to coronavirus in the Puget Sound region in Washington, the global center for commercial aircraft production, cost around $ 137 million.
It was reported that the Max 737 runway had cost $ 5 billion. The Max 737 landed last March after a flawed flight control system played a role in two deadly accidents that killed 346 people. Executives hope the jet will be declared safe to fly later this year, although they stress that regulators control the timeline.
Thursday’s announcement is a sign of Boeing’s executive determination to come out of the crisis without government support, although that could accelerate layoffs at companies that may face much smaller post-crisis demand for their products. The company announced last week that it plans to lay off 10% of its global workforce, affecting at least 14,000 jobs.
Boeing’s chief executive David Calhoun has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the company will consider all its financing options, including the private market. He told Fox Business last month that he was not interested in taxpayers’ money if it meant the government would take equity shares. The company, he said, has options elsewhere.
That attitude concerns lawmakers from Washington state, who urged Calhoun in a letter to “consider utilizing the economic assistance provided by the Care Act to protect thousands of jobs at Boeing in Washington State and throughout the country.”
Seven members of the state congressional delegation wrote that they were “deeply troubled” by what they considered Calhoun’s reluctance to take government money for closing the factory.
The company used about $ 15 billion in cash after withdrawing a $ 13.8 billion loan earlier this year, which could see it through tumultuous months.
Company officials, however, said recently that Boeing continued to look at several options, including taking government money. However, in the end, Calhoun hopes the company can access enough liquidity to keep him in the private market, and seems able to do that.
The company now has around $ 40 billion in cash at hand. That can last until 2023 if he is able to keep spending low, said Bloomberg analyst George Ferguson.
Ferguson called the bond sale a smart move that would allow the company to scramble quickly if the 737 Max was considered safe to fly.
The extra cash “gives them the freedom to make fundamentally correct decisions for the company and not worry about cash flow strangeness through the quarter and year,” said Ferguson.
Others said the steps Boeing had implemented so far would not be far enough. Even further into recovery, Boeing’s airline customers may prefer used jets to new ones.
“I just don’t think they understand the extent of the decline in the global aviation industry,” said Teal Group space analyst Richard Aboulafia. “This is the kind of thing you do with a two-year story that resembles a decline in the past, but I just think it’s significantly worse.”
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