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AIRLINES : NWA Financing Is Set, Checchi's Group Says

June 30, 1989|ROBERT E. DALLOS | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Los Angeles financier Alfred A. Checchi's investor group said Thursday that it has received commitments for "significantly more" than the $3.35 billion of financing it needs to complete its tender offer for NWA Inc., parent of Northwest Airlines.

Wings Holdings, as the Checchi group is called, announced that the financing will come from a consortium of commercial banks headed by Bankers Trust Co., which will provide $500 million. The Wings Holdings $121-a-share tender offer is scheduled to expire July 21.

Checchi and his partners announced June 19 that they had reached agreement with NWA to purchase the airline holding company for $4.05 billion. The investors will put up the remaining $700 million.

In another development Thursday, the Department of Transportation asked Northwest for additional information on how its acquisition by Wings Holdings will affect the carrier's financial fitness and "citizenship." Federal rules bar foreign interests from owning more than 25% of a U.S. airline.

Confidentiality Deal

A letter from John V. Coleman, director of the DOT's Office of Aviation Analysis, to Steven G. Rothmeier, Northwest's chief executive, said: " . . . whenever a carrier will be undergoing substantial changes in areas such as ownership and financial posture which may affect its continuing fitness or citizenship, it is necessary that we obtain sufficient information from the affected carrier to determine the impact of those changes."

Attorney Robert Friedman of the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which represents Checchi, said in an interview that the department "has already been supplied with most of the information it requested in the letter." He said representatives of Wings Holdings want to meet with department officials to "work out the confidentiality" of supplying the information. That is necessary, he said, because Wings Holdings has entered into a confidentiality agreement with Northwest.

A Northwest spokesman, Alan Muncaster, said comment on the letter "would be premature . . . , since we have not seen the letter. But it is probably not something we would comment on anyway."

Financial Data Requested

Among the things DOT asked for were citizenship affidavits for the airline as it will exist after the acquisition and a description of all non-Americans who will hold a direct or indirect interest in Northwest. The department also asked for financial information such as a forecast of income, a description of any stock to be issued in connection with the acquisition and of debt arrangements.

Many of the inquiries were obviously prompted by the fact that Checchi's investors include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which will acquire 4.9% of Northwest, and Australian conglomerate Elders IXL, which will own 14.9%.

The Transportation Department said it also asked for information on the financing of aircraft that the airline has on order and whether it still intends to accept delivery of them. Northwest has placed orders or options for 134 airliners worth $8 billion.

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