Uruguay govt sets conditions for Pluna stake sale

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Uruguay's government is reportedly seeking at least $15 million for its 25% stake in Pluna, which the carrier's controlling shareholder Leadgate is interested in acquiring.

The Uruguayan minister of public works and transport, Enrique Pintado, is quoted in local media as setting a $15 million minimum price tag for the government's stake in Pluna, citing the price paid by Chorus Aviation - formerly Jazz Air - for its 33% non-voting stake in the carrier.

Pintado is also reportedly seeking the "redefinition" of all state guarantees currently backing Pluna's Bombardier CRJ900 fleet as the "minimum requirement" to start negotiations to eventually sell the remaining 25% stake to Leadgate.

A senior Leadgate official told ATI that "the private shareholders sent a letter to the government several months ago, expressing their interest in acquiring its stake, without having received a response yet".

He added: "Right now, there is no share price or any deadline on the table."

According to the original privatisation contract, the state financially guarantees the acquisition of the first seven Bombardier regional jets, a provision that has sparked repeated political discussions about the state potentially assuming an excessive risk in a private company.

However, Pintado dampened expectations for an easy negotiation by saying that the deal would still need to be discussed by the ruling Frente Amplio coalition, of which several sectors are considered close allies of the unions, which strongly oppose any withdrawal of the state from Pluna.