Volkswagen has agreed to extend a 20 billion euro ($21.1 billion) bridge loan as it continues to deal with the financial fallout from its emissions scandal.
The one-year loan was originally set to expire next month but VW told Reuters it had decided to extend the credit line to June 2017 in a move to protect the financial framework for its operations and increase its financial flexibility.
The biggest scandal in VW’s history has wiped billions off its market value and made it much more expensive for the company to borrow money through its preferred route of the debt market.
VW’s credit ratings have slipped, with S&P downgrading the carmaker in two steps to BBB+ from A. Daimler has an A rating while BMW is rated A+.
VW had hoped its bonds would return to more normal levels by last spring, allowing it to issue debt and repay the bridge loan. Sources told Reuters that VW had drawn up to half of the loan by the summer, but the auto maker said the loan was currently undrawn.
A U.S. judge last month approved VW’s $14.7 billion settlement with authorities and owners of 475,000 2.0-litre diesel cars and is due to discuss proposals for buybacks and fixes for 80,000 3.0-litre vehicles on Wednesday.
“VW is still looking to return to the bond market and once a settlement deal for its 3.0-litre diesel engines is approved by the U.S. court, it should be able to outline its emissions scandal liabilities in a bond prospectus,” Reuters said, citing the sources.
The bridge loan was reportedly split between 13 banks, with eight banks supplying 1.825 billion euros each and the five others each providing loans worth 1.08 billion euros.
VW said it was still taking advantage of ABS (asset-backed securities) transactions and commercial paper.