Proposals for privatization of Azores Airlines open today

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The SATA group will open today, at 13:00 local time (14:00 in Lisbon), the opening of competing proposals for the privatization of Azores Airlines, the airline that provides connections with the outside of the Azores.

The privatization tender was opened in March, with a 90-day period for submitting bids until June 20, but the deadline was extended to July 31 following “informal and formal requests” from potential stakeholders.

“In view of the great demand for the tender specifications from more than 31 entities, and because there were formal and informal requests from some of the interested parties to extend the deadlines, the board of directors of the SATA group asked the Regional Government to agree to extend the deadline for submission of tenders. Thus, the deadline for submission of bids will be July 31, 2023,” the group said in a statement on May 26.

On March 7, the Azorean executive revealed that the specifications for the privatization of Azores Airlines provided for a sale of a “minimum” of 51% and a “maximum” of 85% of the company’s share capital.

On 26 May, the Azores regional secretary for finance, planning and public administration, Duarte Freitas, said the privatization process for Azores Airlines should not be delayed following the extension of the deadline for submitting bids.

“We do not estimate that it could delay the process. The timetables are set and the jury will naturally take into account this postponement of the delivery of all cases,” he said, adding that “the rest of the procedure will take place within the estimated deadlines”.

The companies of the SATA group universe, SATA Air Açores and Azores Airlines, recorded a negative result of EUR 30 million in the first quarter of 2023.

According to the report on the financial statements for the 1st quarter of 2023 of the companies in the regional public business sector, there was a negative EUR 23 million at SATA Internacional and EUR 7 million at SATA Air Açores.

Azores Airlines’ liabilities grew by EUR 108.7 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period of 2022.

The operator, which provides connections outside the Azores, had liabilities of 539,302,359 euros in the first quarter of 2022, to grow to 648,056,585 euros in the same period of 2023.

At SATA Air Açores, which provides inter-island connections in the region, liabilities fell by EUR 142.2 million from the first quarter of 2022 (EUR 475,993,071) to the same period of 2023 (EUR 333,708,307).

The European Commission has approved Portuguese state aid to support the airline’s restructuring of €453.25 million in state loans and guarantees, providing for ‘remedies’ such as a reorganization of the structure and the divestment of a controlling stake (51%) in Azores Airlines.

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