Sunday, April 11, 2021

April 6, 2021  THE HAGUE - Dutch flag carrier airline KLM will eventually need help with liquidity, but that assistance does not need to be provided immediately, said Wopke Hoekstra in a letter to Parliament. The caretaker Minister of Finance made the statement as parent company Air France - KLM announced that the company and the French State reached a four-billion euro deal that will double France's ownership stake in the company to 29.9 percent.

The deal was approved by the European Commission. Air France had to give up 18 landing and take-off slots at Orly Airport in Paris though the European Commission had initially demanded 24. KLM would likely have to do the same at Schiphol for Brussels to approve any further support from the Dutch State.

Negotiations between the Netherlands, the parent company, the Dutch airline and the European Commission were ongoing, with a goal of determining "the conditions under which a KLM recapitalization could take place and a potential intervention of the Dutch State in such recapitalization," Hoekstra wrote in a joint statement with members of the Dutch and French government.

In a separate letter just from Hoekstra and Dutch Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, they wrote, "Based on current expectations within the sector, KLM has indicated that a capital need will arise, which means that in the short term, there is no acute need to strengthen equity capital." He added that the current Cabinet will continue to support KLM, and will analyze the scenario to find the most optimal solution.

"Due to the uncertain outlook for the recovery of the aviation sector and the lack of an urgent necessity at KLM, the government wants to use the coming period to gain a better picture of this. The cabinet will therefore make a final decision at a later stage on any capital support."

For the time being, the Netherlands owns 14 percent of Air France - KLM, though its ownership stake will be diluted to 9.3 percent as the French State's stake is increased in the billion-euro share issue. The other three billion euros in the deal is the conversion of loan issued during the group's disastrous 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This change in shareholder relationships has no consequences for the safeguarding of public interests," The Dutch ministers wrote. They said both the Dutch and French States remain dedicated to the success of the individual airlines. "Both states are committed to a successful future for KLM and Air France within AFKL."

"After the support in 2020 from the French State to Air France and the Dutch State to KLM, this further strengthens the financial basis of the Group," KLM wrote in a statement. "For the Netherlands, the connection with the rest of the world via Schiphol is of strategic importance."

The Netherlands has already provided KLM with a loan of a billion euros, and 2.4 billion euros in credit facility guarantees with strict conditions. KLM must repay the loans within five and a half years. 

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Entertainment

April 10, 2021  BERLIN (AP) — The Australian photographer and actress June Newton — also known under her pseudonym Alice Springs — has died at 97, the Helmut Newton Foundation said Saturday in Berlin. Newton, who was also the wife of the late photographer Helmut Newton, died Friday in her home in Monte Carlo. The cause of death was not given. “We mourn the loss of an outstanding person and internationally recognized photographer,” the foundation wrote on its website. Newton, who was born June Browne in Melbourne, Australia in 1923, trained as an actor and often performed under her stage name June Brunell, the foundation said.

April 9, 2021  -Melissa McCarthy and her husband, filmmaker Ben Falcone, have managed to put out not one but two movies during this global pandemic. It prompts two questions: What did we do to deserve them? And how do we stop it? McCarthy enlists — and immediately wastes — the services of Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer for the superhero buddy comedy “Thunder Force,” a meandering nothing-burger of a film. It’s the fifth team-up between McCarthy and Falcone — they previously did “The Boss,” “Tammy,” “Life of the Party” and “Superintelligence.” It’s clear they’ve gotten progressively worse and McCarthy’s welcome manic, anarchic energy is no longer disarming.

April 10, 2021  LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Prince Charles offered a heartfelt tribute to his “dear Papa” on Saturday as Buckingham Palace offered the broad outlines of a royal funeral that will be attended by the family and broadcast to the world. As Queen Elizabeth II and other relatives mourned, Charles offered a personal video message saying the royal family was “deeply grateful” for the outpouring of support they’ve received following the death Friday of his 99-year-old father, Prince Philip. The heir to the throne said he was touched by the number of people around the world who have shared his family’s loss and sorrow.

April 9, 2021  -The St. George’s and Jamaica College Old Boys Associations of Florida will host their first-ever friendly sound clash on Saturday, April 10. The True Blue Sound Clash of 2021 is replacing the traditional True Blue weekend soccer event held every year. This year marks the 17th year for the South Florida event though it will be held in a different format. The True Blue Sound Clash will be hosted online by VP Records and broadcast on their Facebook page (facebook.com/vprecords/) & YouTube Channel (youtube.com/vprecords) starting at 7:00 p.m.

Business News

April 11, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — Two big South Korean electric vehicle battery makers have settled a long-running trade dispute that will allow one of them to move ahead with plans to make batteries in Georgia, a person briefed on the matter says. LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation reached the settlement, ending the need for President Joe Biden to intervene in the dispute, the person said Saturday. The person asked not to be identified because the companies have not yet announced the settlement. No details were available. The U.S. International Trade Commission decided in February that SK stole 22 trade secrets from LG Energy, and that SK should be barred from importing, making or selling batteries in the United States for 10 years.

April 10, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries. Party leaders worry about the dominance of China’s biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year. Alibaba was fined for “abusing its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced. It said the fine was equal to 4% of its total 2019 sales of 455.712 billion yuan ($69.5 billion).

April 11, 2021  MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore signed a letter of intent Saturday to buy the Timberwolves and keep the NBA team in Minnesota, owner Glen Taylor said. The agreement, which also includes the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, opens a 30-day window for negotiations to be finalized. If accountants and attorneys for both sides agree, the deal would then need to be approved by the league. The Athletic first reported the $1.5 billion sale.

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