ALTA: Synergy to make final offer for TAP Portugal on 7 Dec

Panama City
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Brazilian conglomerate Synergy Group is set to make its final offer to the Portuguese government on 7 December for the purchase of a stake in state-owned TAP Portugal.

Synergy, the majority shareholder of Latin American airline group AviancaTaca, was recently approved by the Portuguese government to be the sole bidder for a stake in the carrier.

A group of more than 30 Synergy staff travelled to Portugal last week to work on the deal, says Jose Efromovich, a Synergy Group board member and brother of German Efromovich, who owns Synergy. On 7 December, Synergy will present its final offer to the Portuguese government, he adds.

Jose Efromovich declines to reveal more details about the offer, saying that Synergy will pay what it deems worthy for the airline.

TAP Portugal, a Star Alliance member along with AviancaTaca, reported a €112 million ($138 million) net loss in the six months ending 30 June. The Portuguese government intends to cap the shareholding of potential buyers in TAP Portugal to 49.9%.

It is not clear when the Portuguese government will make a decision on the sale of a stake in TAP Portugal, says Efromovich, who doubts that the purchase will be firmed up by end-2012. "It will be difficult," he says. "We will be getting involved in government bureaucracy."

Efromovich is also chairman of Avianca Brazil, which is wholly owned by Synergy but operates separately from AviancaTaca. Avianca Brazil was formally called OceanAir.