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Thailand expects liquidity support for Thai Airways next week

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Thai government expects to conclude a capital injection plan for flagship carrier Thai Airways International Pcl <THAI.BK> next week, a government minister said on Thursday.

“On the capital needed to support liquidity, it will be clear next week,” Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob told reporters after a meeting with other agencies on the airline’s rehabilitation plan.

He did not give details but in 2010, the government subscribed to newly issued shares to maintain a controlling stakes in the airline.

The company’s share price rose more than 14% after his comment.

A committee including the finance ministry, which holds a 51% stake in the airline, and the transport ministry was formed to oversee the carrier over the next three to six months, Saksayam said.

As a state-owned enterprise, the airline is overseen by multiple government agencies.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy stands to lose 1.3 trillion baht, nearly all of it in the tourism sector from the new coronavirus, which has infected than 2 million people globally and killed 136,667, according to a Reuters tally.

Thailand has a total of 2,672 cases and 46 fatalities.

Thailand this week extended a ban on passenger flights until the end of April to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Thai Airways, which suspended its flights last month, was already facing financial trouble, reporting losses since 2017. Losses in 2019 widened to 12.2 billion baht ($385 million) from losses of 11.6 billion baht a year earlier.

An official told Reuters earlier that the rehabilitation plan would include reducing the number of plane types in the carrier’s fleet to cut costs.

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Robert Birsel)