South Africa’s Competition Tribunal approves Comair rescue deal


South Africa’s Competition Tribunal on Friday approved a rescue deal for struggling airline Comair on condition that the carrier freezes job cuts for three years and investors allocate shares to a special purpose black empowerment vehicle.

Comair, which operates the British Airways franchise in South Africa and budget airline, was forced into a form of bankruptcy protection in May after South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown halted its operations two months earlier.

The administrators of the restructuring process presented a plan earlier in September which involved investors injecting fresh equity into the company.

SA Bidco, which does not control any other firms, was created by the investors for the purpose of the Comair transaction and consists of former board members and executives.

The Tribunal said after the approved deal the company would not cut jobs for three years from the resumption of its operations, while making offers to the 200 employees it planned to lay off when jobs become available.

The new entity will also allocate a portion of its shares to a special black empowerment ownership vehicle.