South African airline industry heavyweight Gidon Novick – the CEO of the Takatso Consortium – on Wednesday stressed that “Global [Aviation] are key partners in the Takatso Consortium and the SAA transaction is now at an advanced stage”.
Novick issued a brief statement following a post which appeared on FlyAfrica’s Facebook page on Tuesday night that said “Global Aviation is out of SAA V 2.0”.
The post did not give much detail other than later noting it had inside info from Global.
Novick did not respond to calls on Wednesday from Moneyweb requesting further comment.
Global Aviation is also involved in Novick’s low-cost airline Lift, which was launched last year. Novick is known for his involvement in the success of Kulula.com and being the former joint-CEO of Comair, the former JSE-listed aviation group.
He has close relations with Global. However, his brief statement through the Takatso Consortium’s media relations firm did not directly label the FlyAfrica post as false.
Novick surprised the aviation industry in June when he was revealed by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) as one of the key players behind the Takatso Consortium, which was announced as the preferred bidder for a majority equity stake in embattled state airline SAA.
Besides Global, another key partner in the consortium is Harith General Partners, which represents the black-empowerment component of the proposed deal.
“The consortium is a joint venture between Harith, majority shareholders of the SAA transaction and Global Aviation, minority shareholders and strategic partners to the venture,” Takatso reiterated in its statement on Wednesday.
“Takatso recently announced that its due diligence of SAA is substantially complete and that no material issues were identified. The consortium is moving ahead with concluding a share purchase agreement for 51% of SAA with the DPE,” it said.
“The agreement will be subject to various approvals and pre-conditions which are likely to take some time,” Takatso added.
The equity stake deal is reportedly valued at between R2 billion to R3 billion.
Worth noting is that Harith General Partners is also invested in Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg, which Novick also had strong connections to during his time at Comair and when the airline was flying high as South Africa’s most profitable airline.