South Africa to buy Swissair stake in national airline

Swissair's links to Africa are being severed Keystone Archive

South Africa has announced its intention to buy 20 per cent of shares owned by Switzerland's collapsed airline, Swissair, in South African Airways.

This content was published on November 21, 2001 - 22:26

South Africa's minister for public works, Jeff Radebe, said the purchase would be carried out through the public transport company, Transnet.

South African Airways sold one fifth of its shares to Swissair in 1999 for $200 million (SFr350 million) in a government move to privatise the airline.

Swissair was placed in receivership last month. If the company is declared bankrupt, Transnet could buy the shares for 85 per cent of their current value.

Talks are underway between Swissair and the South African government to fix the sale value of the shares.

"We are going to start negotiations with Swissair to fix a fair price," said Radebe. "We should have a clearer idea of the outcome by next week."

Swissair Group refused to give any details about the sale. It has already reached an agreement to sell its share of German charter airline LTU for one euro.

The City of Düsseldorf savings bank is the probable buyer.

swissinfo with agencies

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