Euronews requested an emergency loan from its leading shareholder, the Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris.
According to the French language publication Capital, Naguib Sawiris, who owns 87.7% of Euronews, loaned the channel €8.5 million in July 2020, which is scheduled to be repaid at the end of 2021. Given the risk he imposed an interest rate of 8% and later provided a ‘comfort letter’ promising that he would ensure business continuity for at least a year.
Its emerged that when NBC sold its 25% stake a year ago, the US network received just €3 million. The stake had been purchased three years earlier for €25 million.
Euronews is also under pressure from the European Commission which continues to finance five of its broadcast languages; Portuguese, Hungarian, Greek, Arabic and Persian. They also fund a number of magazine programmes and international correspondents.
On MEP, Germany’s Petra Kammerevert, says she is concerned that by funding an Egyptian businessman the Commission could be guilty of paying illegal state aid.
Earlier this month, staff at Euronews in Lyon walked out in protest at a proposed reduction in staff and the number of broadcast languages, including Turkish.
Around 40 jobs are under threat as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme, including the loss of around 30 journalists out of the 202 currently employed on permanent contracts as the company attempts to balance the books.