TAP privatisation not fixed, no negotiations with potential buyers

  • Lusa
  • 8 November 2022

The minister for infrastructure and housing revealed there are no negotiations with potential buyers of TAP.

Portugal’s minister for infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, has said that there are no negotiations with potential buyers of TAP and that it is not yet defined when the airline’s privatisation process will begin.

“No, it is not,” said Pedro Nuno Santos in response to Liberal Initiative (IL) MP Carlos Guimarães Pinto who, after the minister stated that the privatisation process is not yet defined, insisted that “so at this moment there is no type of negotiation with any potential buyer?”

The IL MP also insisted on knowing if Pedro Nuno Santos could confirm that the privatisation of TAP will take place in 2023, if it will be over more than 50% of the capital and if, after the privatisation, the state plans to keep some kind of obligation or if it will give some kind of guarantee on TAP’s debt, but Pedro Nuno Santos’ response did not deviate from the initial record.

“We stated an objective that was the opening of TAP’s capital, because it was never the objective for the government to keep with 100% of TAP. That process was not started and we cannot give an answer about a process that was not started,” said the minister who was being heard on Monday at the Finance Budget Commission as part of the committee stage negotiations of the government’s proposed 2023 state budget.

The IL MP also wanted to know if the injection of money into TAP did not safeguard the 5% capital that the workers had in the company, with the minister saying that the negotiations held with Brussels on the TAP restructuring plan resulted in the requirement for the cash injections into the company to be transformed into capital so that, in this framework, “all shareholdings are diluted.”

Earlier, André Ventura, leader of the right-wing Chega party had also brought TAP into the hearing, questioning the minister about the number of flight cancellations. In his reply, the minister accused the MP of “mixing everything up” by defending intervention in TAP, but criticising the money [injected], not wanting to privatise TAP, but wanting to know how much the state will lose.

Paula Santos of the PCP (communist party), for her part, questioned Pedro Nuno Santos on the end of salary cuts at TAP, after the company recorded profits of €111 million in the third quarter but the minister said that there are still no conditions for these to end.

“We cannot end the cuts” while the company is still running a deficit, said Pedro Nuno Santos who acknowledged the sacrifices that workers are being called upon to make and that the company is recovering faster than expected.