South Africa

SAA wants minority investors and loans

South Africa is seeking potential minority investors and access to capital markets and loan financing for South African Airways for more rapid expansion.

This followed the collapse of a previous equity deal, the national flag carrier’s interim Chairman Derek Hanekom said on local broadcaster eNCA.

Hanekom said the airline had to revise its expansion plans after talks were scrapped and has now delayed opening more international routes to London, Frankfurt, and North America.

The South African government had planned to dispose of 51% of SAA to Takatso group — made up of closely held Global Airways and private equity firm Harith General Partners — before the deal was called off last month.

The transaction would have resulted in a R3 billion cash injection for the airline, which previously emerged from lengthy bankruptcy proceedings following years of state bailouts.

“If we are able to get capital from whatever source, then we may be able to expand more rapidly,” Hanekom said on eNCA. The airline is currently growing at a slow but sustainable rate, with no government subsidies, he added.

Within the next financial year, SAA will grow its fleet from 13 to 21 aircraft, Hanekom said. The airline has added a number of routes into Africa, as well as some international routes to Sao Paulo and Perth, Australia, he said.

The search for permanent executives for SAA and some of its units is underway, Hanekom also said.


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