SriLankan still looking for takers in restructuring: Hashim

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Mar 29, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Minister of Public Enterprise Development Kabir Hashim says that although TPG is a preliminary bidder for the restructuring the SriLankan Airlines, it may not go ahead as the government prefers an airline to take over the operations.

“TPG is a private equity fund not an airline and has no experience in running and airline. This is a concern, this is why we are still looking at other options,” Hashim said.

“Some airlines, IndiGo, Air Asia and Japan Airlines have shown interest as well so we have not yet made decision.”

The prime minister gave us a time limit up to April but its highly unlikely that we will meet this deadline, he said.

“We are looking at meeting these other airlines in May. In fact Air Asia was to come next week to meet me but have now postponed it.”

Initially when expressions of interest was called there were eight bidders which was then reduced to three and now TPG is now doing due diligence.

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) which was launched in 1992 with the buying of Continental Airline in 1993 has invested in many airlines including American Airlines, Ryan Air and Mid-West Airlines.

SriLankan was managed profitably by Emirates until 2008, who also had a 40 percent equity stake.

The airline was given 100 million dollar bailouts from the Treasury during the previous administration to keep afloat. In 2015 the airline reported losses of about 16 billion rupees, down from about 30 billion in 2014.

Sri Lanka is planning to sell up to 49 percent of SriLankan Airlines along with management control.