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Gol Rallies After Air France-KLM Acquires Stake: Sao Paulo Mover

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, Brazil’s second-biggest air carrier by market share, advanced to a four-week high after Air France-KLM agreed to purchase a stake in the company.

The shares rose 3.7 percent to 11.33 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, the highest price since Jan. 22. Today’s gain pushed Gol’s advance in 2014 to 8.1 percent.

The French carrier agreed to pay $52 million for about 1.5 percent of Gol’s preferred shares, according to a regulatory filing. The cash injection helps Gol by giving it more money to cover rising foreign-debt costs as the real weakens and additional working capital to increase flights to meet an anticipated increase in demand as Brazil hosts sporting events including the World Cup soccer tournament, according to Pedro Galdi, the head analyst at the brokerage firm SLW Corretora.

“This money is a big relief for Gol at this point,” Galdi said by phone from Sao Paulo. “It doesn’t mean the end of all its problems, but now the company will have a little more tranquility to operate and make strategic plans.”

Air France-KLM will also inject $48 million more into Gol to help improve the company’s efficiency, according to yesterday’s filing. The deal still needs to be approved by the company’s board of directors.

About 76 percent of Gol’s 5.5 billion reais of outstanding debt is denominated in foreign currency, according to a statement on the company’s website. Brazil’s currency has lost 0.4 percent this year after declining 13 percent in 2013.

Delta Airlines Inc. holds 6 percent of Gol’s shares, making it the third-biggest stockholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. TAM Linhas Aereas SA, the Brazilian unit of Latam Airlines Group SA, is Brazil’s largest air carrier by market share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Denyse Godoy in Sao Paulo at dgodoy2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Walsh at bwalsh8@bloomberg.net

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