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Hertz in Talks With Banks for New Financing Amid Travel Bans

Gillian Tan, Davide Scigliuzzo and David Welch

(Bloomberg) -- Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is discussing options with banks to raise cash as the rental-car company seeks to weather a worldwide slowdown in travel, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Among the options being discussed by the company and banks led by Barclays Plc are a first-lien loan, second-lien financing or collateralizing the company’s vehicle fleet. Hertz has also asked the U.S. Treasury Department for a loan.

While no decisions have been made, the company, lenders and prospective investors have discussed a first-lien loan of as much as several hundred million dollars at a yield of about 12%, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The Estero, Florida-based company is seeking to shore up its balance sheet after the coronavirus pandemic caused governments around the world to halt travel and instruct their residents to stay at home.

A representative for Hertz didn’t respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

Preserving Liquidity

“Like the rest of the global travel sector, Covid-19’s impact on Hertz arrived swiftly, and the reversal in customer demand has been significant,” Hertz Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Marinello said in a statement late Thursday. “We are aggressively taking actions to sustain operations and preserve liquidity, while confronting the issues raised by some of the most difficult economic conditions we have experienced.”

The car-rental company also said it is consolidating locations, furloughing employees and reducing capital expenditures to help cut costs and preserve liquidity.

Hertz, which is offering free rentals to New York City health workers, said it has access to around $1 billion in liquidity and that it does not face significant debt maturities until June 2021.

Shares Plunge

Hertz shares have tumbled 68% from a 12-month high on Feb. 20. They plunged 11% to $6.46 at 9:48 a.m. in New York.

In credit markets, derivatives linked to the company are pricing in more than 70% odds of a default in the next five years. Hertz had a $17 billion debt load as of Dec. 31, which dwarfs its market capitalization of $1 billion at the market close Thursday.

The company’s bonds maturing in 2026 have fallen to as low as 52 cents on the dollar from around par as recently as this month, according to the Trace bond-price reporting system. In the credit-default swaps market, the upfront cost to insure Hertz’s debt against losses for five years has surged to more than 27% from less than 5% earlier this month.

The company said it’s also taking actions to access surplus equity in its car-rental fleet facilities to provide incremental liquidity, which would depend on “the duration and magnitude of the travel slowdown as well as other factors, including trends in used-car values.”

(Updates share price in ninth paragraph.)

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