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Portuguese businessman prepares TAP bid

tapPortuguese businessman Pais do Amaral says that soon he will be in a position to make a proposal to buy TAP, Portugal’s state airline.

Amaral said that he is allied to the U.S. business buccaneer Frank Lorenzo, the controversial former shareholder of Continental Airlines, and aims to partner him in a bid for TAP.

American bank JP Morgan is advising, alongside Portuguese bank BPI. Amaral says that there is a good prospect of raising the necessary money from a consortium, “Our proposal has been well received by investors. There may be some Portuguese investors, we have the contacts," said Amaral.

Pais do Amaral, who has stakes in several companies, aims to bid for 100% of the Portuguese airline and stresses that "the plan is not to sell TAP for at least three years.”

The business plan involves attracting a core of investors through an Initial Public Offering of shares.

Amaral has been working on the plan for nine months and the entrepreneur assures the public that the intention is not to sell off the company for a quick buck, adding that everything is dependent on the Government, "I do not even know if the government will privatise the company."

After the failure of the first attempt to sell TAP, ending in the rejection of an offer from Gérman Efromovich, the Passos Coelho government had delayed making any firm plans even though privatisation was stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Troika in 2011.

In recent weeks, the legal and financial advisors to the government have continued their evaluation of TAP with a view to relaunching the sale process.

Last week another consortium came forward with a proposal to buy TAP, this time based in Luanda representing several Middle Eastern interests but it only wanted to buy 49%.

On Friday, TAP’s pilots decided to hold a 24-hour strike on August 9th, and many flights have been cancelled recently due to delivery delays of new aircraft.

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