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Takatso deal for SAA is alive, says Gordhan

Takatso deal for SAA is alive, says Gordhan

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan came out swinging yesterday, batting away the uncertainty surrounding the status of national carrier SAA’s deal with Takatso Consortium, in the wake of the resignation from the board of a key member of the potential 51% shareholder.

There are mounting concerns over the financing required to complete the deal.

Gordhan insisted yesterday that the government’s position was that the deal was going ahead and that the resignation of Syranix’s nominated director, Gidon Novick, of the Takatso Consortium, was an internal matter for the potential partners.

“To us as government the deal is both alive and live. It is an internal matter in as far as we are concerned. This is the nature of commercial transactions,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan said the department had been given an assurance that the deal would not fall through over a lack of funding.

He said the entities partnering in the consortium had credibility in the market and that the transaction would not disintegrate on the resignation of Novick.

“Mr Novick was a small and relatively minor party in a transaction. Just because he happens to be somebody with experience somewhere in his past, as all of us do, doesn’t discredit everybody else, nor does it mean that what he puts on the table is something that one must take seriously. Be assured we will make information available as soon as there are developments in the transaction,” Gordhan said.

Parliamentary committee head Mkhuleko Hlengwa said it was apparent that the proposed strategic equity partner (SEP) did not have the R3 billion required to complete the deal and questioned what the SEP was buying when it purchased SAA.

SAA has vastly diminished assets.

They also questioned the consortium taking a majority stake, which meant that South Africa Inc would never have a deciding voice in the running of the airline.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) members insisted on the committee getting a full report of SAA’s financials.

They said Scopa and the South African public must know what SAA’s financial position was and where the transaction stood, particularly the use of bailout funds from the state.

But Gordhan told Scopa that the Takatso deal was at a sensitive stage, which prevented the sharing of the finer details.

The investment fund Harith is the majority partner in the consortium and was responsible for raising money for the deal. Takatso is supposed to take a 51% stake in SAA. In return, they would invest R3 billion in the airline over two years.

BUSINESS REPORT

Original Article

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