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Business News Wed, 25 Feb 2004

Nationwide is not in race for Ghana Airways

?As Gov?t moves to retain majority shares in new partnership

GHANA AIRWAYS IS not in talks with Nationwide, contrary to media reports suggesting that the national carrier is embroiled in partnership talks with the South African-based company and two other minor airlines in a move that would see Ghana lose its majority stake in the national carrier.

There are also no plans by government to lose its majority stake in Ghanair, this paper has learnt. Instead, four groups of companies comprising various airlines have been short-listed as potential partners for the trouble-laden Ghana Airway following a selective bidding process to find a solution to the problems plaguing the airline.

The companies are Fidelity Consortium, which is made up of KLM and Kenya airlines; Ghanair Partners, Ghana International Airline and Solutions Incorporated.

Out of the four potential short-listed partners, sources say the Ministry has written to three, with Solutions Incorporated yet to be informed of the bid process because they presently have no representative in the country.

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Confirming Gye Nyame Concord?s findings in an interview Friday, Mr. Ken Anku, Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Roads and Transport, said there was no iota of truth in reports that Nationwide has been selected as partners for the national carrier.

?I dare those who claim that Nationwide and some smaller airlines have been selected to come out with concrete evidence and facts to back their assertions, and to name the other airlines if the source of their information is credible? noted Anku.

He explained that there was no way Ghana would be a minority stakeholder in the proposed partnership under review since Ghana was a signatory to the Chicago Convention, which requires that for carrier to fly the flag of a country, at least the government of that nation, its citizen or a corporate entity from that country must have a minimum 50% stake in the airline.

He said Government?s position on the airline is that it wants a partner willing to take a minimum 20% equity stake in the airline, with a maximum stake of 49%.

?Government is not in search of management consultants but real partners for the airline?, he said, explaining that the Kufuor administration has decided to bail out the debt portfolio of the airline once a suitable partner is found in order to allow the airline to fly to its glorious heights?.

Source: ALFRED OGBAMEY for GYE NYAME CONCORD
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