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BREAKING: SAA terminates services of BnP Capital

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Cape Town - South African Airways (SAA) has taken a decision to terminate the services of BnP Capital as a financial services provider to the airline, the airline announced on Thursday.

The effect of this decision means that SAA has terminated both its appointment of BnP Capital as transaction adviser and the appointment to source funds on behalf of the airline. The decision was communicated to BnP Capital on Wednesday, the airline said.

News24 exclusively revealed on Tuesday that SAA's controversial appointment of the little-known finance company was not only expensive; it also put on hold an approved banking tender to Nedbank.

News24 revealed that SAA's board approved the awarding of banking services to Nedbank on May 27, for five years, at an estimated cost of R278m.

But the awarding of this contract would be on condition that the "Nedbank contract [be] deferred subject to [the] debt consolidation process finalisation".

The debt consolidation process that was underway at the time was the appointment of BnP Capital, a "boutique financier". It was appointed to advise the airline how to restructure its R15bn debt.

This would be done for a fee of R256m - even though SAA's treasurer, Cynthia Stimpel, said it could be done at a fraction of the cost. BnP Capital won the contract in March ahead of several well-established companies, including Nedbank, Regiments and Deloitte & Touche.

According to the Financial Services Board, BnP Capital's licence to operate as a financial services provider had been suspended earlier in the year.

Stimpel was subsequently suspended.

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