Delta lands $2.5 billion in exit financing

The airline is hoping to emerge from bankruptcy by the middle of this year as a stand-alone.

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said yesterday that it had obtained a commitment for $2.5 billion in financing as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy by the middle of this year as a stand-alone company.

The Atlanta company said the financing would be led by six financial groups - JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., UBS AG, and Barclays Capital.

Delta said the financing would be secured by collateral in its existing financing for its operations while in bankruptcy.

The airline said the money was a key ingredient that would help it meet its goal for exiting bankruptcy.

Proceeds from the exit financing will be used by Delta to repay its $2.1 billion in-bankruptcy financing led by General Electric Capital Corp. and American Express Co., make other payments, and increase its cash reserves.

Delta has said it projects it will be worth $9.4 billion to $12 billion when it emerges from bankruptcy.

It still faces an unsolicited buyout bid from US Airways Group Inc. in a deal that would create the nation's largest carrier.

Delta's official committee of unsecured creditors has not weighed in yet on whether it would support Delta's stand-alone plan or US Airways' plan to buy Delta.

US Airways has set a deadline of tomorrow for the committee to meet certain conditions or the bid would be withdrawn.