7-Jun-2010 10:54 AM

Sri Lanka to buy back shares from Emirates

SriLankan Airlines Chairman, Nishantha Wickremesinghe, stated the Sri Lankan Government is ready to buy back the 43.6% stake of the national carrier held by Emirates (Trade Arabia/Reuters/Emirates Business/ColomboPage/Gulf Daily News, 06/07-Jun-2010). Emirates President, Tim Clark, added the deal could be reached as early as today (07-Jun-2010). Emirates purchased the stake for USD70 million in 1998, in line with the privatisation of the airline, then known as Air Lanka. The Government, while retaining a 51% stake in the carrier, transferred management control to Emirates for 10 years. When that period ended in 2008, Emirates valued its holding at approximately USD150 million. It has been reported the buy-back deal would be valued at USD55 million-65 million although no official details have been disclosed. 

Emirates: "It is correct that we would be selling our stake in SriLankan Airlines to the Sri Lankan Government. I was in Colombo last week to discuss the sale. We're hoping that in the week starting Monday [today] the deal would be closed. So probably during the course of this week, the sale would be concluded ... I can't really indicate a price at this stage. As soon as the money is in our bank, the deal would be concluded," Tim Clark, CEO. Source: Emirates Business, 07-Jun-2010.

SriLankan Airlines: "The deal is close to being finalised. It is now between the government and Emirates," Nishantha Wickremesinghe, Chairman. Source: Trade Arabia, 06-Jun-2010.

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