Belgium pours nearly €75 million in aeronautics sector

Belgium pours nearly €75 million in aeronautics sector
Credit: Air Be

The Belgian government has invested nearly €75 million in support of its aeronautics sector since the start of the coronavirus crisis, L'Echo reported on Saturday.

After the outbreak of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the government asked its Federal Holding and Investment Company (FHIC), the financial arm of the federal government, to take initiatives to strengthen companies active in essential sectors and to keep the Belgian economy working as much as possible, according to L'Echo.

The FHIC started with the companies in its own portfolio, in which it has invested €75 million in various ways, FHIC CEO Koen Van Loo explained. The FHIC invested mainly in aeronautical companies such as Sonaca, Asco, Air Belgium and Sabena Aerospace, but also in a logistics data platform such as Nxtport in the port of Antwerp.

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The FHIC is also involved in the state aid dossier for Brussels Airlines. The airline has not received any aid yet, however. In fact, the positions of Brussels Airlines' parent company Lufthansa and the Belgian government are reportedly so far apart that negotiations were put on hold.

New investments by the FHIC are currently frozen, though the company can "mobilise up to 50 million euros for new dossiers linked to the coronavirus," Van Loo said. 

Van Loo expects the crisis to have a "significant" impact on the FHIC's results for 2020 due to the fall in dividends distributed by the portfolio companies and possible reductions in the value of its holdings.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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