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Portugal gets 3 bids in TAP airline privatization

Portugal gets 3 bids in TAP airline privatization

LISBON: The Transport Secretary Sergio Monteiro said on Friday that Portugal’s government has received three bids for the struggling state-owned flag carrier TAP in its second attempt to privatise the heavily indebted airline since 2012.

He would not disclose the names of investors or institutions who made the offers, but sources close to the process told Reuters two Brazil-based aviation tycoons and one Portuguese investor had presented the offers by Friday’s deadline. One of the interested parties was Brazilian-American businessman David Neeleman, the founder of U.S. airline JetBlue and CEO of Azul Brazilian Airlines, a source said.

Brazilian-Colombian investor German Efromovich had also made an offer, a source said. Efromovich controls Latin America’s Avianca via his holding Synergy and had made a bid for TAP in 2012. That was rejected at the time because of a problem with financial guarantees. TAP operates a fleet of 77 planes with 2,500 weekly flights, many of them to Brazil, with which Portugal has historic ties.

TAP was hit by a 10-day pilots strike earlier this month, which is estimated to have cost it some 35 million euros ($40 million). Pilots have demanded a stake in the airline, which the government has refused.