TAP Portugal chief executive Fernando Pinto is confident that the flag carrier’s privatisation process will resume during the next six to eight weeks.
Addressing delegates at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading in Barcelona today, Pinto said the privatisation of TAP Portugal almost closed at the end of last year but the schedule was “too tight”.
The Portuguese government rejected Synergy's bid in December 2012, citing concerns about financial guarantees. The Brazilian conglomerate had been the sole bidder, after IAG and Lufthansa withdrew their early expressions of interest.
Pinto told Flightglobal in February that in principle the government had accepted Synergy's offer - comprising a down payment of €35 million ($47.5 million) plus a €315 million investment - but that "fine details on the actual paperwork" had ultimately scuppered the deal.
He is hopeful that the Synergy Group, the parent of Avianca-Taca, will participate again as the Brazilian group is a “good match”. It makes “sense for them, sense for us”.
“What I hear from them is that there are still interested,” he says.
But he is also aware of the government intention to re-open the privatisation process to a much wider audience.
“The government would like to restart the process with more private parties,” he adds.
Pinto is hopeful TAP Portugal will report a profit in 2013. The Portuguese carrier recorded a €15.9 million net profit last year.