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South African Airways to Oppose 1Time Acquisition by Fastjet

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- South African Airways SOC Ltd. will object to the planned takeover of liquidated 1Time Airline by U.K.-based Fastjet Plc because of laws banning majority foreign ownership of local carriers.

The state-controlled company is citing legislation that airlines “operating domestically within South Africa are owned by companies with a minimum 75 percent South African shareholding,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg today. Fastjet Plc signed an option agreement in December to acquire the bankrupt 1Time as part of its expansion across Africa.

Local carriers Comair and state-owned Mango have also lodged objections to the takeover with the Air Services Licensing Council, South Africa’s Business Day newspaper said today.

1Time filed for liquidation in November. SAA, the biggest airline in Africa, received a 5 billion rand ($550 million) government guarantee in 2012 to operate “as a going concern.” It owns Mango, a low-cost carrier.

Fastjet began operations last year and has ambitions to build a low-cost network across Africa. It is backed by Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Easyjet Plc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Johannesburg at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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