The South African Competition Commission has recommended that the Takatso Consortium be permitted to acquire a controlling stake in South African Airways (SAA), the country’s state-owned airline, if certain conditions are met.
After the government announced plans to sell a majority stake in SAA in 2021, the Takatso Consortium was formed. This was done in order for the financially troubled airline to no longer require ongoing bailouts.
The company’s largest shareholder was the private equity firm Harith General Partners. Syranix and Global Aviation, which jointly own the South African private airline Lift, each had a smaller stake.
According to the Competition Commission’s report, selling SAA to Takatso would result in a “substantial lessening and prevention of competition in the domestic passenger airlines market” if Syranix and Global Aviation remained in the consortium.
If Lift’s co-owners are included in the consortium, “the exchange of competitively sensitive information between SAA and Lift, through Global Aviation and Syranix having shareholding and the ability to appoint directors to Takatso’s board of directors” may occur.
According to the Commission’s announcement, Global Aviation and Syranix have agreed to terminate the merger before it is completed, and there will be a moratorium on merger-related layoffs.
The deal cannot be completed without the approval of a specialized court, the Competition Tribunal.