May 19, 2020 / 1:01 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-'Reasonable prospects' S.Africa's Comair can be saved - administrators

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JOHANNESBURG, May 19 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Comair has “reasonable prospects” of surviving, its administrators said on Tuesday after the airline sought a form of bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

Comair, which operates the local British Airways franchise and budget airline, entered a “business rescue” after a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus forced South African airlines to halt all commercial passenger flights.

State flag carrier South African Airways is under the same bankruptcy protection process, while smaller state airline SA Express has been placed under “provisional liquidation”.

Comair is not factually insolvent and has assets of 7.4 billion rand ($407.1 million) versus 5.5 billion rand of liabilities, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Its administrators will probably publish a business rescue plan on June 9, it added.

Comair says on its website that it hopes to resume operations around November. It was already in the middle of a turnaround process before the coronavirus struck and reported a 564 million rand half-year loss.

$1 = 18.1767 rand Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Nqobile Dludla and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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