June 7, 2019 / 10:24 AM / 2 months ago

South African carrier SAA says 4 billion rand government bailout would ease liquidity crunch

South African Airways (SAA) Airbus A330-200 aircraft stand on the runway at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) says it needs 4 billion rand in emergency cash from government to pay off maturing debt and steer the firm to profitability in two years’ time, the state-owned airline’s board said on Friday.

“We are in discussion with lenders about repaying the 3.5 billion rand (due in July) and extending the 9.2 billion rand (of other debt) over a protracted period of time,” board member Martin Kingston told a news briefing. “Repaying the 3.5 billion rand opens the door for us to access additional liquidity for the current financial year.”

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Catherine Evans

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