Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 4, 2023

Another year of share suspensions for Kenya Airways

Another year of share suspensions for Kenya Airways

The local stock exchange reports that trading in Kenya Airways shares has been halted for another year as the ailing national airline struggles to earn a profit.

Since July 2020, when the COVID-19 epidemic destroyed international air transport, the airline's shares have been suspended.

The president claims he wants to sell the government's interest in the indebted airline, whose stocks have not been traded since 2020.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange stated in a statement on Wednesday that "the extension of suspension seeks to enable the business [to] complete its operational and corporate reform process."

The airline has been heavily in debt for years, and Kenyan President William Ruto stated last month that the government was prepared to sell all of its shares in the company.

Air France-KLM owns 7.8% of Kenya Airways, while the government holds a 48.9% interest. Private individuals and banks possess the remaining assets.

During his first trip to the United States as Kenya's president, Ruto told Bloomberg News, "I'm willing to sell the entire Kenya Airways."

“I’m not in the business of running an airline that just has a Kenyan flag – that’s not my business,” said Ruto, who reportedly met executives from US carrier Delta Air Lines during the trip.

When pilots went on a days-long strike in November, hundreds of flights were canceled and thousands of passengers were left stranded, making Kenya Airways' problems worse. Additionally, it missed payments last year on a $525 million loan from the US Export-Import Bank.

The shares were initially put on hold two and a half years ago when parliament were debating a proposal to have the state acquire full ownership of the carrier, which has since been abandoned.

Following the demise of East African Airways, the airline, whose tagline is "The Pride of Africa," was established in 1977. It presently travels more than four million people to 42 destinations every year.

However, since 2012, it has lost money, and the government has spent millions of dollars to keep it afloat.

The International Monetary Fund announced a $447 million loan for Kenya under a 38-month aid program last month and called for progress on structural reforms in that country.

The majority-state-owned utility Kenya Power and "addressing vulnerabilities" at Kenya Airways were both deemed "priority" by the IMF.

The airline announced a $81.5 million half-year loss in August, blaming high fuel prices. Compared to the $94.6 million deficit during the same period last year, it was a significant improvement.

According to local media sources, Kenya Airways would shortly get a second state bailout of roughly $280 million, as stated in a letter from Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u to the IMF at the end of December.

Kenya Airways shares suspended for yet another year
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