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South African Airways Sale Part of Vital Reforms, Minister Says

  • Gordhan says winning consortium had most credible backers
  • A spurned bidder has filed a lawsuit to have process annulled
Pravin Gordhan on July 12.
Pravin Gordhan on July 12.Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/Bloomberg

South Africa’s minister in charge of embattled state-owned companies gave an impassioned defense of the sale of a majority stake in the national carrier for about $3 -- a deal that’s subject to a lawsuit from one of the spurned bidders.

The privatization of South African Airways is a vital reform for the country’s battered economy, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, 73, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. The winning bidder -- a partnership between a domestic aviation group and private equity firm -- was the one left with the most credible financial backing and industry experience, he said.