Four bidders vying to take Portugal's TAP private: report

12th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Lisbon will decide whether to privatise state-owned airline TAP in the next few weeks after approaches from four "credible" bidders, the economy minister said in an interview published on Friday.

"We have recieved more than three expressions of interest judged credible and which have spurred the government to think about possibly reviving the privatisation", Antonio Pires de Lima told finanancil daily Diario Economico.

The government is now considering whether to sell 49 percent and retain a controlling stake in the airline or to privatise fully, he said, adding that in total four bidders were currently in the mix.

The executive expects "to make a decision in the coming weeks so that, if necessary, privatization can take place in the coming months", said Pires de Lima.

Portugal has been seeking fresh ways to boost its coffers as the country struggles with tough austerity measures after years of recession sparked by the 2008 global financial crisis.

Jornal de Negocios on Friday reported the government will decide by the end of September and had identified three potential candidates.

Among them is South American businessman German Efromovich, owner of Columbian flag carrier Avianca, the only bidder to get into the second round of the last drive to privatise TAP which ended in December 2012.

TAP reported a 42-percent jump in net profit to 34 million euros last year thanks to a record number of passengers after several years of losses.

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© 2014 AFP

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