South African Airways seeks billions in long-term funding to help manage debt

SAA is dependent on government-guaranteed loans to stay operational. (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

SAA is dependent on government-guaranteed loans to stay operational. (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

South African Airways is seeking 16 billion rand ($1.1 billion) in long-term funding that the unprofitable government-owned carrier said will be used for working and capital expenditure and to help manage outstanding debt.


The airline will need to access the funding two weeks after the signing of loan documentation, SAA said in a request for proposals from financial institutions, published in the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper. The company is seeking rand-denominated secured and unsecured funding with a three- to 15-year tenure and has set a closing date of Sept. 16 for proposals.

SAA, which last reported a full-year profit in 2011, is dependent on government-guaranteed loans to stay operating and is awaiting a decision by the National Treasury on additional support before it can file overdue financial statements for the year through March 2015.

The airline had previously appointed little-known BnP Capital as financial services adviser to source funding on its behalf, yet reversed the decision after criticism and a legal challenge from the Organization Undoing Tax Abuse.
The South African lobby group said Johannesburg-based BnP had had its Financial Services Board license suspended and that SAA had not followed a competitive bidding process.

FSB accreditation is a “critical requirement” for non-banking financial services intermediaries, SAA said in the request for proposal this week.

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