Colombo, Sept 28 (NIA) – Two global investment managers, US based BlackRock and TPG Capital, have shown interest in crisis-hit SriLankan Airlines which is looking for a partner, a minister said here on Wednesday.
“BlackRock and TPG Capital, two global investment management firms are among the interested parties in addition to some Chinese airlines,” Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of International Trade and Development Strategies said, quoted in a report by LBO.
“We (government) will have to takeover the debt only and give as no one will take it with it.”
BlackRock, is a investment management corporation based in New York City while TPG Capital is one of the largest private equity investment firms globally, focused on leveraged buyouts, growth capital and leveraged recapitalization investments in distressed companies and turnaround situations.
According to previous media reports four airlines – Turkish Airlines, Hainan – China’s largest privately-owned air transport firm, Japan’s ANA and Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines have also shown interest.
So far there are eight EOIs confirmed for the national carrier with two more being finalized.
SriLankan was given 100 million dollar bailouts from the Treasury during the previous administration to keep afloat. In 2015 the airline had losses of about 16 billion rupees, down from about 30 billion in 2014.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced in April that his government was searching for an international partner who could manage and invest in the national airline carrier after the airline recorded a massive debt of 3.25 billion U.S. dollars.
Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lankan Airlines was a ‘landmine’ for the country’s economy with its high debts and the government would take over part of its debts in order to seek for an international partner or investor.
“The airline cannot continue like this and as a government we can only pay part of the debts. If we do not, the airline will collapse and the economy will also collapse. This is not a small figure,” the Premier had said.