The Kenyan government has agreed to convert some of Kenya Airways’ debt into equity, which means it will own a nearly 50 per cent stake in the troubled carrier, according to state media.

Kenya Airways confirmed in a statement that the government’s debt-for-equity deal will give it a 48.9 per cent stake in the airline. The state has given the carrier a loan in shilling and US dollars totalling US$238.1 million and previously held a 29.8 per cent stake.

State media reports lenders have also agreed to convert part of the $217.2 million debt into a 38.1 per cent stake. Air France KLM currently owns 26.7 per cent of the airline.

According to the Financial Times, Kenya Airways has posted losses for the last five years, including a nearly US$253 million loss in 2016/2016. In 2016, the airline reported an operating profit of US$8.7 million, but financing costs far outweighed that figure by almost nine times.

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