S. Africa Seeks More Time to Decide on State Airline Guarantee

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan asked for more time to consider South African Airways’ request for a going-concern guarantee that the unprofitable state-owned airline needs to finalize its annual financial statements.

Gordhan asked the Speaker of Parliament to approve a one-month extension for submission of the carrier’s annual report and financial statements until March 15, the National Treasury said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Parliament’s finance committee asked the minister to submit an interim report on the airline by the end of February, its chairman, Yunus Carrim, said by phone.

SAA, which has been surviving on about 14 billion rand ($890 million) of government debt guarantees, last posted a full-year profit in 2011 and has yet to finalize its financial statements for the year through March 2015. The company, which has had seven acting or permanent chief executive officers in less than four years, requested a further guarantee from the National Treasury on Dec. 21.

“Given the potential implication for the sovereign and for the economy, the matter requires extensive and careful consideration,” the Finance Ministry said.

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