Takatso consortium close to completing due diligence on SAA deal

By Paul Vecchiatto and John Bowker

(Bloomberg) – South Africa said the private group looking to take a majority stake in the country’s dormant national airline is close to completing due diligence ahead of a planned resumption of flights later this month. 

The Takatso consortium has yet to identify any material issues that would scupper the South African Airways deal, the Department of Public Enterprises said in a presentation to lawmakers on Wednesday. The group is made up of Johannesburg-based Global Airways, which owns new domestic airline Lift, and private-equity firm Harith General Partners.

SAA said last week it will resume operations on Sept. 23, about 18 months after the fleet was grounded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The carrier was already in a local form of bankruptcy protection at the time, though administrators handed control back to the board at the end of April this year. 

SAA’s various subsidiaries remain in financial difficulty, with low-cost carrier Mango having been placed into business rescue, according to the presentation. The government has allocated 2.7 billion rand ($186.6 million) to support the units, which also include maintenance firm SAA Technical and catering group Air Chefs, though the majority of the funds have yet to be dispensed.

SAA is looking to resume flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, plus African capitals Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added as it ramps up operations to meet demand, the company said.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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