Continental Airlines said yesterday it has received commitments from a number of banks for a loan of more than $185 million to be used to buy more than 15 million new shares in the company for an employe stock-ownership plan.
Continental, a Los Angeles-based airline fighting a takeover bid by Texas International Airlines, refused to identify the banks. It said the loan commitments were subject to negotiation of pricing arrangements and "satisfactory resolution of legal issues."
Texas International, which currently owns 48 1/2 percent of Continental's stock, has sued Continental, charging it with violating securities, tax and labor laws in an effort to creat an employe stock purchase plan to prevent TI from taking control.
Under the plan, as described by Continental officials, the airline would issue 15.4 million shares of its stock to its employee -- more than doubling its current shares outstanding -- who would acquire a controlling interest in the airline.
A.L. Feldman, Continental's president, said yesterday that based on the lenders' commitments to finance the creation of the employee stock ownership plan and an overwhelming vote by Continental's employes in favor of the plan, he would submit the proposal to Continental's board of directors.
In a related development, the Civil Aeronautics Board said it would hold an oral argument next Wednesday on a petition by Texas International for modification of a board-approved trust that currently holds TI's shares in Continental.
The trust is designed to insulate TI from exercising any control over Continental while its application to acquire control of the airline is awaiting the board's decision.