* Government says does not alter privatisation revenue
* Still selecting buyer for airport operator ANA
LISBON Dec 20 Portugal said on Thursday it
would postpone its long-awaited privatisation of debt-laden
airline TAP after rejecting the sole bid by Colombian-Brazilian
entrepreneur German Efromovich, but it still plans to beat its
asset disposal target.
The TAP sale formed part of a privatisation plan required by
Portugal's 78 billion euro ($103 billion) European Union and
International Monetary Fund bailout.
However, Efromovich's offer for the flagship carrier, which
is weighed down by an estimated 1.2 billion euros of debt, would
have only reaped 35 million euros for the state coffers.
"This decision does not compromise the government's
privatisation programme, which is still expected to surpass the
target in terms of proceeds," Treasury Secretary Maria Luis
Albuquerque told a briefing.
The TAP sale would be relaunched "at an opportune moment",
The government had previously set a target to earn over 5
billion euros from the proceeds of asset sales.
It is still in the process of choosing the winning bid for
airport operator ANA, which could raise 3 billion euros, with a
decision expected by the end of December.
Albuquerque said Efromovich's offer, made via his Synergy
investment company, had failed to produce guarantees it had
sufficient funds to buy the airline and invest in its growth.
Through Synergy, Efromovich controls AviancaTaca
- one of Latin America's leading commercial carriers with more
than 100 routes in 14 countries.
($1 = 0.7542 euros)
(Reporting By Sergio Goncalves and Filipe Alves; Writing by
Andrei Khalip; Editing by Sophie Hares)