Emirates, Etihad Airways Showed Interest in Buying PIA Stake

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Abbas Ali
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Emirates, Etihad Airways Showed Interest in Buying PIA Stake

Post by Abbas Ali » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:24 pm

By Salman Siddiqui

Published: January 14, 2018

Emirates and Etihad Airways showed interest in buying a stake in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), but the government was forced to retreat from its sell-off agenda as protests kicked off, said a top official privy to privatisation developments.

After earning a substantial $1.72 billion under its ambitious privatisation plan in the first two years, the PML-N’s sell-off programme stalled in the latter half of its tenure. The tactical retreat came as protests erupted after it was reported that the government was considering selling its stake in the national carrier.

“The Privatisation Commission found potential strategic buyers for two top loss-making state-owned entities; PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills,” an official told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

“Emirates and Etihad Airways were showing great interest in PIA,” he said.

In the past two years, despite repeated claims of restructuring and eventually selling stakes in loss-making entities, not a single privatisation transaction has occurred.

Instead, Pakistan’s taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of coughing up Rs500 billion as loss-making enterprises continue to be a strain on the country’s fiscal operations. In addition, these companies have not gone through the restructuring process that was touted before the government was elected into power.

One of the top agendas of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, under which Pakistan got a $6.2-billion bailout, was to restructure and/or sell stakes in loss-making state-owned entities.

While the government succeeded in selling stakes in some entities – such as Habib Bank Limited and United Bank Limited – its plan to sell the troubled PIA and PSM hit snags at multiple steps.

In PIA’s case, protests erupted at the privatisation plan that resulted in one death in January 2016.

Flights also faced delays over the course of the three-day eruption. “If it were privatised at the time (2016), PIA would have been on its way to recovery now,” said the official.

The government, however, has now made it clear that PIA’s privatisation would not be pursued anymore. Instead, it would be restructured though it still remains part of the official list of the Privatisation Commission.

“Whenever the government gives a green signal, the process would resume from there,” he said.

Source: tribune.com.pk
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Mansoor Mela
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Re: Emirates, Etihad Airways Showed Interest in Buying PIA Stake

Post by Mansoor Mela » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:16 pm

For almosy 5 years the government hss been experimenting with PIA like an 'anari' doctor. They deprived it of its birth certificate (the PIAC Act) on the pretext thst it was an impediment to provatisation. The appointed Hildenbrend as its Chief. Yet they obliged Qatar Airways with unlimited access into our most lucrative markets. Now they want us to believe that it was the employee protests which prevented the airline from being great again.
You can either keep the Arabs happy or save PIA. IMHO.