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South Africa Sale of majority stake in SAA Airlines in Global Airways, Harith



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South Africa agreed to sell the majority stake in the country’s national carrier to a local aircraft leasing company and a private equity firm, removing the government from a unit that has long been draining state finances.

A consortium consisting of JohannesburgGlobal Airways, which recently owns the domestic airline Lift and the private equity firmHarith General Partners will take a 51% stake in South African Airways, Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday. The government will retain part of the minority.

The order strengthened in the news, trading 0.5% stronger at 13.55 against the US dollar since 10:11 in Johannesburg.

The group called Takatso will invest up to 3.5 billion rand ($ 258 million) over the next three years, said in an interview Lift co-founder Gidon Novick and CEO Harith Tshepo Mahloele.

“The government will no longer have financial obligations to the company, outside of the existing obligations they will settle,” Novick said. “The road networks we are still working on, and it will be a phased opening based on the demand that is emerging after Covid.”

The SAA sale comes about six weeks after the airline emerged from lengthy bankruptcy proceedings, having reduced its workforce by almost 80% and cut liabilities to around Rs 2.6 billion. The other challenge is the resumption of international flights, although South Africa remains isolated from most of the world due to pandemic travel restrictions.

Stable airline

The carrier is among a number of South African state-owned enterprises that have deteriorated into a state of financial distress in recent years, in large part due to mismanagement and corruption. However, the abolition of the SAA marks the first effective privatization of a major entity since the sale of the former telephone monopoly.Telkom SA SOC Ltd. about two decades ago.

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