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Kenya seeking to sell national airline to strategic investor

According to Kenyan website Nation Times, the Kenyan treasury will seek a foreign investor to purchase a controlling stake in the country's airline in a bid to return it to profitability.

Chris Kiptoo, the Treasury Principal Secretary nominee told MPs that the government will push for an investor to inject capital and offer management expertise in the next step of restructuring.

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If the sale goes through, the state's shares will reduce by 48.9 percent.

According to the website, Air KLM owns a small stake in Kenya Airways and it remains to be seen if the multinational, previously KQ's anchor shareholder, will sell its remaining 7.76% stake.

“It is time to relook the national carrier and ensure that it continues to operate without government support. We need to bring in a strategic investor,” Kiptoo told the National Assembly Finance and National Planning committee vetting principal secretary nominees.

He said KQ, as the national carrier is popularly known, operated profitably when a private investor pumped in money and that the government must seek the model in the push to return the airline to profitability.

Kenya is said to prefer a cash-rich foreign airline as a strategic investor in a plan that could offer the national carrier aviation expertise and cut its reliance on the State for operational cash.

The national carrier has received multi-billion shilling State bailouts amid delayed recovery from a travel slump following Covid-19.

The fresh restructuring plan comes after the State dropped the favored long-term solution that was anchored on nationalization of the airline.

A law to pave the way for the nationalization of the airline, which had been proposed before the pandemic, is before Parliament.

The airline, which has been surviving on State bailouts since the Covid-19 pandemic, reported a Sh9.8 billion loss in August — a better performance than the Sh11.48 billion Sh11.48 billion loss it recorded in the same period a year earlier.

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