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Airlines

UPDATE 1-South African Airways may exit administration this month

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CAPE TOWN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - South African Airways (SAA) may exit administration later this month and a decision on an equity partner for it could be made by the end of March, the ministry responsible for the state-owned airline said on Wednesday.

SAA has been under a local form of bankruptcy protection since December 2019, and its longstanding financial woes worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. It suspended all operations around the end of September.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said at a virtual meeting of a parliamentary committee that the remainder of a 10.5 billion rand ($702.4 million) bailout could flow to the airline now an appropriation act had been passed.

So far 2.8 billion rand of the bailout has been transferred to SAA, the department’s presentation showed.

“We are expecting that during the course of this month the business rescue practitioners should be exiting the business,” DPE Director-General Kgathatso Tlhakudi said.

“We have agreed to set up a receivership to take care of the remaining liabilities,” he added.

The DPE’s presentation said a plan for SAA to resume operations had not yet been agreed. It added that it had received expressions of interest from potential partners in SAA Group and its subsidiaries.

$1 = 14.9495 rand Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Alexander Winning; editing by Jason Neely

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