1time seals R49m empowerment deal

9 March 2011

South Africa low-fare airline 1time has struck a deal that will see a black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium acquiring a 25% stake in the aviation group for about R49-million, with the proceeds being used to expand the airline’s operations and add new routes.

The consortium includes Mtha Aviation, SKMT Sunrise Investment Group and Oakleaf Investment Holdings 59, and also includes Sipho Twala, a founding shareholder and chairman of 1time.

“We look forward to partnering with the BEE consortium as their solid track record, entrepreneurial spirit and aviation expertise will provide a perfect fit with the 1time culture,” 1time Group CEO Glenn Orsmond said in a statement this week. “The funding will give impetus to our growth plans for the airline by introducing new routes into Africa and the Lanseria operations.”

According to 1time, state-owned Industrial Development Corporation provided the consortium with the necessary funding required to effect the transaction.

The company’s board has resolved to use the new equity capital to expand the airline as well as its aircraft maintenance and charter business, as well as to expand and enhance training facilities for its pilots.

“The vision and strategy of the board remains to create a diverse aviation group consisting of the best low-cost airline in Southern Africa and a world-class maintenance facility,” 1time said. “This transaction, having notably strengthened the group’s BEE credentials and shareholding, has significantly strengthened the group’s ability to reach this goal.”

‘Exciting’ expansion plans

As part of the transaction, Busiwe Maqungo and Blacky Komani have been appointed as executive director and non-executive director of the company respectively.

Maqungo is the current MD of Mtha Aviation. Her career spans various sectors, including academic institutions and Human Sciences Research Council, as well as the private sector and parastatals.

Komani is the chairman of Mtha Aviation. He has 20 years experience in the field of travel and tourism. Based in New York, he was the head of the South African Tourism operation for North and South America for a period of six years.

He currently serves on different boards in the travel and tourism sector and is also an executive director at American Express Foreign Exchange.

“Our participation will focus on the synergies that already exist between the BEE Consortium and 1time, in order to leverage maximum value from the anticipated growth in passenger numbers in Africa,” said Komani. “The BEE consortium offers expertise that will maintain and enhance 1time’s competitive edge, thereby delivering sustainable value for all stakeholders.

“We anticipate growth in our market share through an improved range of offerings to our loyal customers, and have very exciting expansion plans in place.”

SAinfo reporter

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