Norway to spend an extra $1.9 bln to aid pandemic-hit businesses, municipalities

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Norway’s government on Friday proposed 16.3 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.9 billion) in extra fiscal spending this year to aid municipalities and businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the finance ministry said.

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The proposed package included 1.5 billion crowns for a hybrid loan to Norwegian Air, which is undergoing financial restructuring, provided that an agreement is reached on the terms, and pending parliament’s approval.

The planned allotment followed a government decision on January 21 to back the airline, which plans to emerge from court-ordered bankruptcy protection as a slimmed-down carrier focused primarily on the Nordic region.

The amount was in line with what Norwegian has asked for, the government said.

Pareto Securities, which advised the government on the support for Norwegian, said the airline’s scaled-down business plan appeared to make it a “sensible financial investment”, the finance ministry said.

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Norwegian Air was not immediately available to comment.

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