Four airlines in race for share in Bangladesh airline.
DHAKA -- At least four Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airlines are in the race to buy 40 per cent of Bangladesh's national airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines, airline officials said on Monday.
The officials said Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways and Gulf Air have submitted proposals to become strategic partners in the airline, which is currently fully government-owned.
Some reports here said there could be several more interested airlines but no confirmation was available.
Last month Biman called for proposals from foreign airlines to become strategic partners.
'The last date for sending proposals to become a strategic partner was December 2 and we have four confirmed groups,' a Biman official said.
The government expects to earn US$40 million from the sale of shares.
Under the government's partial privatisation plan, it will retain 51 per cent of the airline's shares and nine percent will be sold to Biman employees.
The plan envisaged the sale process would be completed by January but Biman sources said it could take a little longer.
The plan was prepared by Citibank NA, which valued Biman's assets at US$100 million, although a Biman source said the airline believed its value was almost double this amount.
The sale process has been delayed by opposition from unions but after several rounds of talks and promises of no lay-offs, the protests have eased.
Losses at the airline were being gradually reduced from 200 million taka (US$3.48 million) recorded in the 1998-1999 fiscal year, officials said.
Biman has 5,500 employees and 14 aircraft and flies to 25 international destinations as well as domestic routes. -- AFP
Singapore Airlines on the prowl again.....