By Sergio Goncalves
LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will decide on the size of the stake it will sell in flag carrier TAP once competitors present their proposals, Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba told a parliamentary committee on Thursday.
The Portuguese government plans to sell at least 51% of TAP as part of a plan to privatise the struggling state-owned airline. It believes finding a private buyer can ensure the brand name is preserved while boosting the company’s performance.
Portugal wants prospective bidders to put a value on TAP’s strategic routes to the Portuguese-speaking world, including countries such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique, Galamba told a parliamentary committee
“Before we know the concrete proposals of competitors and any future improvements to these proposals, we cannot define the exact stake (of TAP) that will be sold,” Galamba said.
He said that the government will appoint financial advisors soon and plans to approve the privatisation by year-end, with the process concluding by mid-2024.
The airline’s privatisation has attracted interest from Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and British Airways owner IAG.
“TAP is one of the last independent flag carriers, due to the consolidation trend in Europe, and today has the unique opportunity to choose its long-term partner,” Galamba said.
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; editing by Charlie Devereux and Jonathan Oatis)