Govt. eyes Emirates' stake in Sri Lankan

17 February 2010 02:21 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Sri Lankan government has approached Dubai's Emirates Airline about buying the carrier's stake in SriLankan Airlines, but firm negotiations aren't underway, Emirates Airline's president said Wednesday.


"The Sri Lankan government has put the feelers out, but we're not negotiating anything at the moment," Tim Clark told Zawya Dow Jones by telephone. "If the price is right we'd consider it, but that's all I can say on the matter."


Emirates, the Middle East's largest carrier, currently holds a 43.6% in state-controlled SriLankan and the Sri Lankan government owns 51% of the airline. SriLankan employees hold the remainder, according to the airline's Web site.


Dubai's Emirates said in 2008 that it would consider selling its stake after deciding not to renew a decade-long management of the airline. At the time Emirates said the stake could be worth $150 million.


Since then, the Sri Lankan government has been managing the carrier and is trying to rebuild the country's tourism sector after a 25-year war ended last year.


Last month, Emirates said it expects to post "solid" full-year earnings and sees no problem refinancing upcoming debt, despite ongoing concerns over Dubai's credit obligations. - Dow Jones Newswires

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