Boeing CEO says company may reject stimulus if Treasury seeks equity stake
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Boeing CEO says company may reject stimulus if Treasury seeks equity stake

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun suggested on Tuesday that the Boeing Company may not accept aid in the form of taxpayer money.

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While the aerospace giant has requested $60 billion in federal aid; they won’t accept the money if the United States Treasury requests if the department seeks equal ownership of the company.

“I don’t have a need for an equity stake,” Calhoun said in a statement on Fox Business Network. “If they forced it, we’d just look at all the other options, and we have plenty.”

“I want them to support the credit markets, provide liquidity, allow us to borrow against our future, which we all believe in very strongly and I think our creditors will, too. It’s really that simple,” he added.

Calhoun’s comments come less than 24 hours after Treasury Secretary Steven Munchen took to the Fox Business network to suggest the equal stake rule impacting any company who takes the aid.

“We will be doing things on market terms. And if we determine that market terms include equity, we have the ability to do that,” he said. “The president has made very clear, if the taxpayers are putting money at risk, they should be properly compensated,”

Boeing’s Crisis

At the end of 2019 and before the Coronavirus swept across the world, Boeing had a worth of $26 billion across three divisions. But with virtually all air travel grounded, the company is facing dire times. Despite an increase in company stock price on Tuesday; Boeing stock is still down by more than 60 percent of what it was last month.

Firstly the company released a statement last week announcing changes to high level employee compensation plans; with Calhoun and Chariman Larry Kellner giving up their pay until the end of 2020. Calhoun has a base salary of $10.9 million and could earn awards worth another $17 million. While Kellner’s compensation is no pocket change, he made considerably less money ($392,111) in 2019 than Calhoun’s lofty pay day.

“Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term,” the company said in the press release Friday.

Secondly they formally requested to be part of the new stimulus plan, but Calhoun made the company’s interests clear.

“We want to pay everything back,” Calhoun said, expressing his desire for a government loan with interest in order to retain control over there corporation.

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The Republican Senate proposed a $2 billion economic stimulus bill earlier this week, but the aerospace industry was not included in its stipulations. While there are still specifics that need working out, the bill put together by Munchen and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is a response to the heated congressional discussions surrounding how to help the economy through the Coronavirus crisis.

Should the bill pass the Senate it would then move to the House of Representatives for approval. Already in the Democratic majority House is a economic rescue plan of $2.5 billion.


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