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Blackstone Fund Buys Majority Stake in Seaplane Companies

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Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP said a private-equity fund it manages gained a controlling stake in two Maldives-based seaplane operators that provide service to resort islands from Hulhule Airport Island in Maldives.

Terms weren’t disclosed. The owners of the companies will still retain a stake in the business and serve as directors on the board, the financial-management firm said in a statement.

Maldivian Air Taxi, founded in 1992, is the biggest seaplane operator in the world, Blackstone said. Trans Maldivian Airways has more than 20 seaplanes, and the combined business will operate 44 seaplanes with more than 100,000 flights annually, Blackstone said.

“We are excited to partner with MAT and TMA, whose seaplane operations have contributed significantly to the development of resort islands,” said Prakash Melwani, chief investment officer of Blackstone’s private equity unit, in the statement.

Maldives, a group of 1,190 coral islands with a population of about 400,000, is southwest of India. About 198 of the islands, spread across 559 miles (900 kilometers), are inhabited.

Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc served as advisers to Blackstone, while Churchill Capital Ltd. and Northern Lights Capital Group LLC advised the sellers, Blackstone said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at