‘Green light for Takatso-SAA deal a step in keeping airline competitive’

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The Takatso takeover deal of South African Airways (SAA) has been given the green light by the Competition Commission, pending some changes, including Lift exiting the consortium.

Takatso Spokesperson Thulasizwe Simelane says, the recommendation by the Competition Commission of South Africa is a huge step forward in gaining full competition clearance in ensuring that SAA remains competitive in the market.

He adds that the high demand and low supply transaction is inadequate to support the growth and operations of the airliner and the efficiencies in the South Africa economy.

However, for co-founder Gidon Novick of South Africa’s newest low-cost airline – Lift, their concern is that they have not sold their minority shares in the airline and their company having to exit due to commercially sensitive information is improper, as they could still be involved without having access to the information.

Simelane explains, “Our position is that we note the recommendations of the Competition Commission that minority shareholders must diverse. At this point we kind of have formed a view one way or another of what the implications are on how this is being implemented. Because until now, we didn’t have a recommendation from the Commission around which we could engage. Now we look forward to that with our minority shareholders.”

The deal has been a controversial one, from the amount at which SAA was bought, the length it took for the deal to be concluded and the capital that is needed for the operations of the airliner, among other concerns.

He adds, “The R3 billion for operational capital, Takatso Capital will pump into SAA… The work is underway as we speak. All the governance clearances that were needed by Takatso have been attained…We hear people expressing those concerns, we just don’t get where they are coming from. Perhaps it could be informed by a thinking that we should be sitting with a pile of cash… That’s not how things work,” says Simelane.