The privatization of the country’s flag carrier, once proudly called Africa Friendly Airline, when it was up and running seems to be ticking.
Eleven companies have expressed interest to take to partner with government in running the company currently on its knees.
The government of Malawi through the Privatization Commission announced Thursday that has created a new airline, Air Malawi (2012) Limited, in order to achieve speedy engagement of a private investor in the restructuring process of the existing Air Malawi Limited.
Chief executive officer for the commission Jimmy Lipunga told the press in the commercial Blantyre that through the move, government is voluntarily liquidating Air Malawi Limited so the prospective strategic partner should inherit a clean company.
“Substantially this is the same as Air Malawi Limited although legally it is a different entity,” clarified the CEO.
He further said the purpose of establishing the new investment vehicle ‘is to ensure that the process of settling debts and working with creditors is handled concurrently with the invitation of a strategic equity partner.’
As of October 19, the commission said eleven companies had expressed interest to partner with the Malawi government in running the airline, seven of which are Malawian.
These include African Star Airways Limited, Air Express Limited, Alpha & Omega Duty Free Shops, CDH Limited, Global Airlines, Jetlink Airways Limited and Mpatsa Holdings.
From Botswana the commission has received a letter of interest from Global Business Network. Fly Africa and Comair both from South Africa and Ethiopian Airways from Ethiopia are also bidding to have a stake in the airliner.
Meanwhile, liquidator Lekani Katandula from Deloitte has been appointed to take up the responsibility of settling liabilities, overseeing the orderly transfer of assets in the newly created Air Malawi (2012) Limited and dispose any surplus assets.
Air Malawi (2012) Limited will not be in operation until a qualified bidder is announced sometime early next year.
The commission says it is transferring Air Malawi Limited assets to the new airline through a voluntary shareholder liquidation framework enshrined in the companies Act.
The Malawi government in September this year announced that it has embarked on a restructuring process of Air Malawi Limited through the Privatization Commission by engaging a strategic equity partner to recapitalize the airline which has not been performing to standards.
Air Malawi currently flies only a single aircraft down from about five planes which were either disposed or detained by creditors in the last decade or so.