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Portugal Seeks to Restart Sale Process for TAP Airline This Year

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July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Portugal reiterated a plan to try to sell state-owned airline TAP SGPS SA again this year and is monitoring market conditions with the aim of attracting possible bidders.

“We continue to check market conditions in order to hold a truly competitive process that will result in the best offer for the airline’s development,” Sergio Monteiro, secretary of state for public works, transport and communications, told reporters in Lisbon today. “We would like to create the conditions to reinitiate this process this year.”

Portugal last year suspended the sale of TAP after rejecting the sole offer from Brazilian investor German Efromovich’s Synergy Group, which controls the Avianca airline brands in South America. Portugal opted for a disposal after requesting a bailout by the International Monetary Fund and European Union in 2011.

The country completed the sale of airport operator ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA to French builder Vinci SA for 3.1 billion euros ($4.1 billion) on Feb. 21 after selling stakes in utility company EDP-Energias de Portugal SA and energy-grid operator REN-Redes Energeticas Nacionais.

The sale of TAP, whose chief attraction is its 74 weekly flights between Lisbon and Brazil, is a “necessity” as the airline lacks the financial conditions to expand its business and renovate its fleet, said Monteiro.

“No fixed timetable has been established for the privatization of TAP,” said Monteiro. Asked if Portugal had received any offers for TAP this year, he replied: “Since the sale process has not formally restarted, no offers could have been presented.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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