Boeing raises $25bn in bond offering

Aircraft and defence manufacturer abandons campaign for federal bailout

Boeing (BA) has announced that it will no longer seek aid from the US federal government after carrying out a massively oversubscribed bond sale.

With the grounding of its entire 737 MAX fleet due to safety concerns, the American aircraft and defence manufacturer was already struggling before the Covid-19 pandemic triggered what threatens to be the worst recession since the Great Depression.

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In April, Boeing sought $60bn (£48bn, €54bn) in federal aid for the company and its supply chain, which includes the likes of Spirit Aerosystems and General Electric. This request was criticised by some as both exorbitant and unfair on other companies. These critics also alluded to congress’ $2.2trn stimulus package, which allocated $17bn in federal loans for companies important to national security.

Facing such resistance and having already drawn down the full $13.8bn in revolving credit at its disposal, Boeing turned to a bond sale in order to keep itself afloat.

Despite its debt load already soaring to a record high of $38.9bn at the end of the first quarter and S&P downgrading Boeing to just one notch above junk, the bond sale proved popular and was significantly oversubscribed.

By adding another $25bn in debt to its balance sheet, Boeing looks set for another downgrade. Chief financial officer Greg Smith all-but conceded such an eventuality, reaffirming the firm’s commitment to maintaining investment-grade ratings but adding that it is ultimately up to the market to decide.

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In a statement, Boeing said: “As a result of the response, and pending the closure of this transaction expected Monday 4 May, we do not plan to seek additional funding through the capital markets or the US government options at this time.”

Boeing stock is trading up in pre-market Friday trading, however it has fallen over 56 per cent on the year to date.

FURTHER READING: Boeing CEO says air travel will take years to recover

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