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UPDATE 1-Easyjet to hold investor calls for euro bond as travel hopes rise

Sarah Young and Abhinav Ramnarayan
·2-min read

(Adds background)

By Sarah Young and Abhinav Ramnarayan

LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Britain's Easyjet will hold investor calls on Tuesday ahead of a potential seven-year benchmark euro bond issue, according to an announcement seen by Reuters, as the airline seeks to boost its finances and ride out the pandemic.

Encouraged by positive news about travel in its biggest market Britain on Monday, easyJet appointed BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley and Santander as joint bookrunners to run the bond sale, the announcement said.

No details were provided on how much the airline is looking to raise from the sale, but a "benchmark" euro bond issue typically has a deal size of about 500 million euros or more.

EasyJet shares and bonds have jumped over the last day, helped by Britain's lockdown easing announcement which said international travel could be allowed from May 17, with a promise to provide further details on borders reopening on April 12.

The airline has been trying to raise its liquidity as the pandemic has dragged on and has repeatedly said it would assess opportunities for further funding.

To survive the pandemic so far, easyJet has axed 4,500 staff, tapped shareholders for cash, and sold dozens of its aircraft. It took on a new five-year loan facility of $1.87 billion in January, backed by a partial guarantee from Britain.

Investors will now hope that the worst of the crisis is behind it.

EasyJet said that bookings for flights for this summer had soared over 300% since Britain's announcement, and holidays by more than 600%, compared to their levels last week.

The stock traded up 8% to 961 pence at 1408 GMT, hitting its highest level since last March.

EasyJet's outstanding bond maturing in June 2025 saw its yield -- which moves inversely with price -- drop a hefty 23.7 basis points on the day to 1.668%. (Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan and Sarah Young Editing by Rachel Armstrong and David Evans)