WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co has hired investment banks Lazard and Evercore Inc to assess potential U.S. government aid or private sector loans, a person briefed on the matter confirmed on Friday.
The largest US aircraft maker requested at least $ 60 billion in US government loan guarantees for itself and other US aerospace manufacturers last month to help the ailing industry withstand a capital drain linked to the coronavirus.
“We are going to meet with Boeing,” President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday. “Boeing hasn’t asked for help yet, but I think they probably will … We can’t let anything happen to Boeing.”
Boeing did not immediately comment.
Boeing noted that 70% of its revenue typically goes to its 17,000 suppliers and told lawmakers that without significant help, the entire U.S. aviation manufacturing industry could collapse.
“Now is not the perfect time to sell planes,” Trump said, adding that the United States would make sure “Boeing is strong again”.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Boeing had hired the two investment banks.
The US Congress has set aside $ 17 billion in direct loans for national security companies that could be operated by Boeing. Boeing could also participate in a Treasury-backed Federal Reserve loan program and an analyst said it could raise up to $ 11.25 billion under a single facility.
This week, Boeing suspended production of its 787 aircraft at its South Carolina facility and indefinitely extended the shutdown of production operations at its Washington state facility.
But the company announced on Friday evening that it plans to restart limited operations in the Puget Sound, Wash. Area from April 13. The resumption of operations would focus on its defense programs, including P-8 and KC-46, and on operations at the Moses Lake site in support of the storage of the 737 MAX.
Last week, Reuters reported that Boeing was considering drastic cuts in widebody production amid falling demand for the industry’s largest airliners, citing sources.
Boeing’s airline customers have postponed taking new planes and making prepayments, exacerbating the crisis over the year-old grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jet, which was selling for sale. previously quickly after two fatal accidents. Boeing halted production of the 737 in January and said this week it now faces two new software issues it needs to fix before the plane can resume flights.
Last month, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said he did not want the U.S. Treasury to take an equity stake as a condition of government loans.
Reporting by David Shepardson; additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Sandra Maler