Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Senegal government takes major stake in Air Senegal

Senegal will take a majority 75 percent stake in its national flag carrier Air Senegal International (ASI) at the expense of its previously controlling partner Morocco's Royal Air Maroc (RAM), it said on Tuesday.

"(With) the management support by RAM having shown its limitations, Senegal has decided to re-take Air Senegal International," the transport ministry said in a statement after the company suffered a 19 million euro (27.4 million dollar) loss in 2006.

"Re-capitalisation of the company will only be assured by Senegal," with a new share distribution in which "Morocco would hold 25 percent and Senegal 75," it said.

The new shareholding structure takes effect on November 5.

The two airlines struck a deal in 2001 in which RAM was the controlling shareholder with 51 percent while the remaining 49 percent was held by Senegal, in what was hailed as a model of cooperation between African countries.

During its early days ASI flourished, flying west African routes deserted by the now defunct Air Afrique and linking the region with Europe.

It was selected the best African airline in 2003.