By Jane Lanhee Lee
(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc on Wednesday held a phone meeting with bankers to discuss extending an existing $1 billion debt facility as the home rental start-up grapples with a slowdown due to the coronavirus, a source who participated in the meeting said.
The deliberations echo that of many U.S. companies that have been rushing to borrow more money and boost their cash coffers as the fallout from the pandemic threatens a prolonged downturn.
Airbnb’s current debt facility was agreed in 2016 and was led by JPMorgan <JPM.N>, Citigroup Inc <C.N>, Morgan Stanley <MS.N>, Bank of America Corp <BAC.N>, Goldman Sachs <GS.N> and Barclays <BARC.L>.
Airbnb has never used the credit facility and it is not expiring for another year, but it is looking to extend that period to be prudent, according to the source.
Airbnb has $3 billion in cash, the person added.
Airbnb’s revenue in 2019 exceeded $4.8 billion, up 35% on year, excluding any foreign exchange impacts, and 2019 was the fourth straight year that the company was cash flow positive, according to the source.
The company, which said in September that it planned to list its shares in 2020, had expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to break even or be positive in 2020 prior to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
The source said Airbnb told bankers that models show the number of nights booked would recover from the current slump, reaching 2019 bookings levels again by early 2021.
Airbnb’s bookings in major cities across the world have suffered as travelers cancel trips and stay at home to protect themselves and prevent the spread of coronavirus, data from Airbnb-analytics firm AirDNA shows.
To demonstrate the resiliency of the business, Airbnb executives shared data from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
An internal document shows the number of Airbnb listings in Puerto Rico rebounded from about 7,700 just before the hurricane, to over 8,300 one year later, and now exceed 12,000.
Airbnb said in a blog post earlier this month that the coronavirus would impact bookings in the near-term.
Still, Airbnb has received inquiries from potential investors who want to acquire a stake in the U.S. home rental company in the wake of the outbreak, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.
Two sources said the interest ranges from $100 million to $1 billion, and that Airbnb was still in “listening” mode.
In the United States, Airbnb said it expects its hosts to get some relief from a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that is nearing a vote in Congress.
(Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin and Anirban Sen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Himani Sarkar)