Abu Dhabi firm seeks 49pc equity in Sudan Airways

DUBAI - Abu Dhabi-based premier travel services firm, Bin Omeir Travel Group (OTG) is seeking 49 per cent equity in Sudan state-owned airline (Sudan Airways) floated by the Sudanese government last August, confirmed a reliable source familiar with the recent development.

By Salah Eldin Eltayeb

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Published: Sat 18 Sep 2004, 9:28 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:51 PM

Talks on joint venture between the two entities to provide first class passenger and cargo services at the airport were concluded in Abu Dhabi last week.

He said, “A meeting between the representatives of the newly privatised airline and Bin Omeir Travel Agency held in Abu Dhabi to discuss the details of the venture and the suitable mechanism of executing it.

The initial talks followed the Sudanese government’s decision to privatise the airline were fruitful, therefore both parties felt it will be positive to continue negotiations and reach an agreement, said the source. The Sudanese government seems to be very serious and objective about creating a new strong and competitive airline with a world-class standard.

"The serious negotiations started about a month ago between the two parties involved ended up in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the final agreement to be signed soon after the Sudanese government comes back with answers to certain issues put across the table by the Bin Omeir travel agency, according to the source.

It is apparent that UAE government and private sector investors have the largest investments among other Arab investors in Sudan. They invest in a number of agricultural projects, telecommunication and oil and gas.

"If completed by the end of the current month, the joint venture will be the first of its kind for Bin Omeir Group in Sudan. The deal is expected to be a joint-venture between the Sudanese government and Bin Omeir Group who plans to offer catering and cargo services in addition to the renovation and face-lifting for the Khartoum International Airport," added the source.

The Governor of Khartoum, Dr Abdul Halim Al Mutaafi earlier told this paper, “The government of Sudan is galloping towards privatisation with the state selling off dozens of poorly run enterprises in a bid to attract much needed foreign investment.”

The successful stories of privatising most of the state-owned major operations including the national shipping corporation, largely-untapped oil sector and Sudan telecommunication encouraged many Arab tycoons and companies to consider a business opportunity in Sudan, added Dr Al Mutaafi.

He said, "To attract foreign investment in Sudan, the government has liberalised foreign exchange rules, under which any foreign investor can repatriate certain amount of his earnings. The government is offering 49 per cent of the total shares to foreign investors keeping 30 per cent for itself and 21 per cent for the national investors — Sudanese businessmen."

The Omeir Group is expected to possess a major share of the Sudan Airways shares floated to non-Sudanese buyers. Established in 1956, Omeir Travel Agency has come a long way in becoming the largest travel group in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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