Czech finmin opens tender for sale of CSA airline


PRAGUE – The Finance Ministry opened a tender for the sale of national carrier Czech Airlines (CSA) and said it aimed to pick a winner by the end of September.

The airline will be sold in a two-round tender, and a deadline for bids was set for March 23.

Analysts expect the deal to fetch up to 5 billion Czech crowns ($228 million).

The government, which has kept the sale on track despite the impact of the economic crisis on asset valuations, also plans to privatise the country’s main airport in Prague.

CSA had a history of losses before breaking even in the past two years thanks to cost-saving measures and the sale of non-core assets.

Bidders will need to meet conditions such as keeping CSA’s status as a national or European carrier to prevent the airline from losing some of its most profitable routes outside the European Union, the ministry said.

That could occur if the carrier is sold to a foreign buyer because of bilateral rules that grant reciprocal take-off and landing rights based on the nationality of airlines’ owners.

Russia’s Aeroflot – CSA’s fellow member of the SkyTeam alliance – and Czech firm Travel Service, majority-owned by Icelandair, are the only two companies that have shown public interest in the Czech airline so far.

A consortium of Deloitte Advisory and CMS Cameron McKenna will act as privatisation advisors.