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Malév needs fresh capital, but ideally not from taxpayers

Hungary's national carrier Malév needs fresh capital, some of it in the form of cash, but the ideal solution would not burden the country's taxpayers, CEO Martin Gauss said in an interview published in Thursday's issue of Népszabadság.

“(Malév) needs fresh capital, some of it in cash, to finance operation and restructuring,” Gauss said. “An ideal solution would not be financed by taxpayers,” he added.

Gauss declined when asked to confirm that Malév has net assets of negative HUF 15 billion, saying he could not reveal any exact figures.

Asked about the possibility of the Hungarian state converting Malév's debts into an ownership stake, Gauss said he saw it as “a realistic solution to a certain degree.”

“Carrying out (Malév's) business plan is of key importance in the interest of making this the last time money has to be put into Malév,” Gauss said. The airline has saved HUF 6 billion this year thanks to a cost-cutting program, he added.

Asked what would happen if Malév failed to get capital from its owners, Gauss said the airline could not “continue its work.”

“If the airline's capital position is not put in order, there is no plan B,” he said. (MTI-ECONEWS)