SOUTH AFRICA – The South African government has short-listed three potential strategic equity partners (SEPs) for South African Airways (SAA).

The decision on the preferred strategic partner will be made next month or so,” according to public enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan told Bloomberg TV that the newly appointed interim board of SAA was engaging with the bidders before the government would make its decision.

As per ch-aviation, DPE has engaged Rand Merchant Bank as the transaction advisor after receiving about 30 expressions of interest.

The SEP could be expected by March this year, following the expected conclusion of the business rescue process by the end of February.

South Africa Airways has been in administration since December 2019 and has not flown commercially since South Africa went into Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Few news reports have named Fairfax Africa Holdings, Ethiopian Airlines as interested parties.

“South Africa Airways has been in administration since December 2019 and has not flown commercially since South Africa went into Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020”

However, Ethiopian’s CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said the airline was not interested in taking on SAA’s debt, or in injecting cash into the airline.

Meanwhile, SAA’s administrators have confirmed to ch-aviation that they have to date received US$540.7 million of the US$727.2 million in state aid to implement the airline’s rescue plan.

Out of that, they received US$346.6 million on February 12.

The business rescue process has been delayed by legal battles as trade unions NUMSA, SACCA, and SAAPA cumulatively launched at least four applications against the administrators over the past year.

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