Uruguay is to sell a controlling stake in state-owned carrier Pluna Líneas Aéreas Uruguayas to an international consortium composed of Argentine, German, US and local investors identified as Leadgate Investment.
At a press conference today in Montevideo, minister of economy Danilo Astori and industry minister Pablo Rossi said the unidentified investors have committed $177 million to support the ailing carrier in return for a 49% stake in the carrier.
The Uruguayan government owns 90% of Pluna’s shares.
Under the agreement, $15 million will be made available in cash while another $10 million will be available as a credit line. The majority of the investment, $152 million, will be used to acquire new aircraft.
No details have been given about any tentative fleet renewal plans, but one source close to the negotiation process says Pluna will replace its current fleet of six aircraft with 20 aircraft: 15 jets to serve regional markets and five widebodies to reposition Pluna in the international market.
According to Flight's fleet database ACAS, Pluna currently operates one ATR 42 turboprop, two Boeing 737-200s, one 737-300, one 757-200 and one 767-300ER.
The source also says current management will be replaced.
In its press conference, the Uruguayan government said the deal will be finalised once due diligence is completed.