A consortium led by French bank BNP-Paribas has been selected to advise the Saudi government on the privatization of Saudi Arabian Airlines. Simat, Helliesen & Eichner, Inc. (SH&E), will be the lead airline advisor. The Gulf and Saudi investment banking group, GIC-GIB, and the consulting and accounting firm KPMG LLP are also participating in the consortium.
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, the second deputy premier, minister of defense and aviation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, chairman of the board of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Michel Pebereau, chairman and CEO of BNP Paribas, signed an advisory mandate yesterday, whereby the consortium will be the sole financial advisor to Saudi Arabian Airlines on its restructuring and privatization. The financial advisory consortium will work in conjunction with a legal advisory team consisting of Clifford Chance and Al-Jedaan.
Saudi Arabian Airlines has taken delivery over the past two years of a new fleet of Boeing aircraft. The introduction of these 747-400, 777, MD90 and MD11F aircraft has resulted in the airline having one of the youngest fleets among major international carriers.
New livery for the fleet has formed part of a modern image enhancement program, which includes a new logo and new colors symbolic of the country. The airline has also undertaken a corporate restructuring as well as new programs to elevate the standard of services.
Saudi Arabian Airlines, founded in 1946 is the twenty-third largest airline in the world. The airline carried thirteen million passengers in 1999, with scheduled service to twenty-five domestic and over forty international cities and, in addition, operates a major cargo service.
SH&E has advised more than 120 airline companies and conducts privatization projects for more than 20 world airlines, including ten Arab airlines. SH&E has worked many times with BNP Paribas, as well as the other members of the consortium on other airline privatization. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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