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04 December 2023

Emirates reviews stake options on SriLankan

Management control of the airline rests with the Sri Lankan government. (AFP)

By Shweta Jain

Emirates is currently reviewing its options concerning its stake in SriLankan Airlines, according to an Emirates' spokesperson.

The Dubai carrier though ended its decade-long management contract with SriLankan Airlines on March 31 last year, it still holds a 43.6 per cent equity stake in the Sri Lankan carrier.

"We have yet not taken a firm decision to sell all or part of it. We are reviewing our options," an Emirates spokesperson told Emirates Business. "Emirates continues to hold a 43.6 per cent equity stake in SriLankan Airlines."

"Management control of SriLankan Airlines now rests with the government of Sri Lanka. Emirates did not renew the shareholders' agreement, which expired on March 31, 2008," the spokesperson added.

The move came close on the heels of some industry officials saying the SriLankan Airlines board of directors was gearing to suggest a proposal to Emirates to sell it through the Automated Trading System of the Colombo Stock Exchange, according to a Sunday Times FT report.

However, the daily quoted SriLankan Airlines officials as denying it.

"From the SriLankan side there has not been any such overtures," the daily quoted Manoj Gunawardena, Chief Executive of SriLankan Airlines, as saying this.

In January 2008, Emirates' President Tim Clark had said the airline would consider selling its 43.6 per cent holding in SriLankan Airlines, and that it would seek about $150 million (Dh551m) for the stake. He said that its purchase would be "a hell of an opportunity" for any regional, South-east Asian or Indian carrier.