Flash Briefing: SA sells majority stake in SAA; Naspers, Prosus under scrutiny

  • South Africa agreed to sell a majority stake in the country’s grounded national carrier to a local jet-leasing company and private-equity firm, ridding the government of an entity that has long been a drain on state finances, reports Bloomberg. A consortium comprised of Johannesburg-based Global Airways, which owns recently launched domestic airline Lift, and private-equity firm Harith General Partners will take a 51% shareholding in South African Airways, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday. The grouping named Takatso will invest as much as R3.5bn ($258m) over the next three years, Lift co-founder Gidon Novick and Harith Chief Executive Officer Tshepo Mahloele said in an interview. The sale of SAA comes about six weeks after the airline emerged from lengthy bankruptcy proceedings, having reduced its workforce by almost 80% and cut liabilities. 
  • A number of South Africa’s top asset managers have teamed together against the complex shareholding structure and lack of management alignment in South Africa’s two largest businesses – Naspers and Prosus. The discount in its share price to its investment in Chinese tech titan Tencent has widened following a number of unsuccessful corporate actions. In an email addressed to Koos Bekker and Hendrik Du Toit (Naspers non-executive director and chief executive of NinetyOne), the investors outlined their concerns, many of which they say have only gotten worse since Van Dijk’s appointment.
  • South Africa’s government criticised the United Arab Emirates for failing to cooperate with its requests for assistance in bringing to justice people suspected of being involved in corruption. This is according to Bloomberg which reports that the two nations have finalised and ratified extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties that may signal a change of course by the U.A.E. authorities, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said Friday in an online briefing.
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