No sale of SAA assets without government approval

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Administrators at state-owned South African Airways (SAA) will not sell assets for an interim period without involving government, a memorandum signed by an administrator and the Public Enterprises ministry showed.

The memorandum, seen by Reuters, said administrators and the ministry agreed the objective of SAA’s bankruptcy protection process was to have a restructured SAA or a new company with no reliance on public finances.

A Public Enterprises ministry spokesman confirmed the memorandum was authentic.

SAA administrators, appointed in December to rescue the national carrier, previously said a wind-down or liquidation of the loss-making airline were likely outcomes.

The “interim period” during which administrators will not sell assets without consulting the ministry lasts until June 30 at the latest, the memorandum said.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and received bailouts worth more than R20 billion over the past three years. It is running low on cash after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to halt commercial passenger flights and government told the administrators it would not provide further funding.