Tucked away in a bottom corner of the Sunday Times’ business section over the weekend was an ad by placed by national carrier SAA casually asking for someone to give the airline R16 billion in loan funding.
It said it needed the money to fund working and capital expenditure and to consolidate its debt.
Reuters reported last week that SAA announced publicly it would be able to fund its debt.
On Friday, however, the DA said it wanted a parliamentary meeting to work out how to prevent the airline from missing payments to creditors, despite SAA saying it would be able to meet its commitments.
The group subsequently, however, put out this notice that it was looking to raise R16 billion from banks and other financial institutions, through secured and unsecured funding with a three- to 15-year duration.
…hopeful funders need to deposit their tender documents “in the tender box” next to the main security area at OR Tambo airport.
It happens to also be in a hurry for the money, as it wants to start drawing funds within two weeks of signing the loan agreement.
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SAA is even being picky about who it wants to give it this money, as it said it would be giving preference to entities that were 51% black owned and 30% women owned.
It wants prospective funders to get back to it by September 16 at noon, and hopeful funders need to deposit their tender documents “in the tender box” next to the main security area at OR Tambo airport.
The airline is facing huge pressure to release its financial reports showing solvency, or it could have its planes grounded. The group needs a guarantee from National Treasury for over R5 billion, which Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is holding back until a new board is elected.
SAA has received a number of government bailouts worth at least R14.4 billion.
Last month it was revealed that the company identified to organise a R7.3 billion loan for the national airline, BnP, had its operating licence suspended, and SAA appeared to have suspended its group treasurer because she anticipated the crisis – and her concerns were not only ignored but treated as an offence.
SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s signature appeared on documents to authorise the confinement of the service to the company that could ultimately not operate.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) joined the fray in an effort to block BnP’s appointment.
According to SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, SAA had secured extensions for its loans, although when they fell due was apparently not taxpayers’ business, as it was “a matter between SAA and its lenders”.
Gordhan requested parliament to grant SAA another extension – until September 15.