Government hires RMB to advise on SAA stake sale

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RMB's offices in Sandton.
RMB's offices in Sandton.
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BUSINESS


Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the investment banking arm of FirstRand, has been appointed as an adviser to help government assess offers for stakes in its insolvent national airline, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Government is looking to raise more than R10 billion that SAA administrators say is needed to revive its operations eight months after going into business rescue.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said that the National Treasury would not use its own money, beyond R16.4 billion in existing debt guarantees, and would instead seek “strategic partners” or private-equity backers as well as tapping pension funds and global financial institutions.

“The department of public enterprises has identified a transaction adviser,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday, without identifying the firm. “The advisers are expected to assess unsolicited expressions of interest from private-sector funders, private-equity investors and partners for a future restructured SAA.”

READ: SAA rescue stalls as state must still offer letter of guarantee

The people who identified the RMB as the adviser asked not to be identified as they aren’t authorised to disclose the information publicly.

A representative of RMB declined to comment.

The department of public enterprises would release more information on the transaction adviser in due course, said spokesperson Sam Mkokeli.

SAA hasn’t made a profit for almost a decade and has been surviving on government bailouts. It was placed in business rescue in December.

With South Africa facing its biggest economic contraction in almost 90 years, Mboweni has said he was loath to spend more money on loss-making state companies. – Bloomberg


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