Written by Lahiru Fernando
07 May, 2017 | 6:16 pm
The US private equity firm TPG (Texas Pacific Group) has pulled out of talks regarding the potential acquisition of SriLankan Airlines, says Minister Kabir Hashim.
April 26, 2016 – Cabinet approval was given for SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka to amalgamate with a private entity.
TPG, Sri Lanka-based Peace Air and a Maldivian based Super Group were then short-listed from the presented bids.
The Texas Pacific Group was selected by the Sri Lankan Government and were given the opportunity to conduct due diligence.
According to Kabir Hashim TPG have been involved in a due diligence process untill recently. Admitting that he was not “officially informed”, the Minister of Public Enterprise Development said that SLA chairman informed him on Friday (May 5) about the TPG pull-out from the acquisition.
“It is unclear whether they are officially withdrawing from the process. However, they have sent a message to the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines” said Minister Hashim added.
Though several other interested parties put their interests forward, the minister says that there was no process to retain them as they were not considered following the decision on TPG.
“If TPG is not interested we will have to speak with the other bidders …” he said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of SLA ‘Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya’ pointed out contradicting statements given by ministers which he believes had an impact on the deal.
“… One Minister says that SriLankan Airlines must be buried. Another says that the national carrier is not worth at all. In the meantime advertisements were published inviting investors”, said Janaka Wijepathiratne
The SLNSS chairman said that they are not against attempts to bring investors for the national carrier. He pointed out that SLA can be converted into a profit-making venture through proper state management. He charged previous governments of not having “no idea of proper state management”.
Janaka Wijepathiratne then said something which can be and should be understood by all countrymen, not just politicians. He said:
“Do not limit your self to political decisions. Understand the national duty and national needs and thereby prepare to manage the national carrier …”
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