Senegal has invited Africa’s biggest carrier, South African Airways (SAA) to acquire a stake in its airline, Senegal Airlines. SAA Spokesman, Tlali Tlali confirmed this saying: “We have been approached by the Senegalese authorities and an offer has been presented to us for our consideration.” He however declined to comment on the airline’s position on the offer, saying that this offer was under consideration. While noting that the Senegalese government is seeking partners to boost its holding to avoid bankruptcy, Finance Minister, Amadou Ba stated that the state-owned airline is open for negotiations with technical partners and that it has received a few offers, including one from SAA.
Other investors interested in the deal include Europe’s biggest carrier and a shareholder in Kenya Airways – Air France-KLM Group and the Ethiopian Airlines, Mr Ba said. The Senegal Airlines which began operations in 2011 after the collapse of Air Senegal International is jointly owned by the Senegalese government and private investors, who have about 64 percent stake in the business. According to reports, about 30 percent of the Senegalese Airline is up for stake to investors. SAA has been planning on developing a regional airport in West Africa, which will serve as a secondary business hub and countries under consideration include Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon and Togo.
Speaking during the announcement of the airline’s annual results last Wednesday SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe said the airline is “looking at a few countries in West Africa.” According to him, ”There is no decision by the board; we are looking at which country best meets SAA’s requirements.”
The airline’s annual results showed that it suffered a 991 million rand ($88 million) loss in the year through March.
South African Airways follows in the footsteps of its rival – Ethiopian Airlines, which added a regional hub in Togo, West Africa and in Malawi – representing the South hub – last week.