The majority share of Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA), the largest seaplane operator in the world, has been sold to US equity giant Bain Capital, marking the largest business acquisition to date in the Maldives.
TMA has confirmed that Bain Capital, in partnership with Chinese tourism conglomerate Tempus Group, signed to purchase TMA’s majority share on Sunday. The majority share was previously held by Blackstone of US, one of the leading investment firms in the world, while local tycoon Champa Hussain Afeef’s Kasa Holdings Pvt Ltd holds the minority share.
TMA’s official did not reveal the total amount of the transaction. However, the Economic Times reported that Bain Capital and Tempus Group proposed to buy 80 percent of TMA’s shares for USD 550 million (MVR 8.4 billion).
TMA’s CEO A.U.M Fawzy has notified the company’s staff of the acquisition. Assuring that Bain Capital “shares a similar outlook and cares for the well-being of the company, its employees, its customers and other stakeholders” as Blackstone, Fawzy declared in an email that TMA’s Board of Directors would remain unchanged. He stated that TMA’s former founders Champa Hussain Afeef and Lars Petre, and Maldivian Air Taxi’s former founder Lars Erik Nielsen remained on board with Fawzy to lead the management of the company.
He added that the acquisition was at an offshore level and that there would not be any immediate changes to the shareholding of the company.
Thanking Blackstone for its contributions to TMA, Fawzy said he was excited at the prospects presented by the Bain Capital-Tempus Group partnership and expressed hopes that the new stakeholders would raise the company to new heights.
With regards to Tempus Group, he also said that the group “will help TMA develop as the quintessential part of the Maldives travel experience for Chinese and international travelers and help capitalize on the growing leisure market in China.”
Since its founding in 1984, Bain Capital has made around 300 investments and is a veteran in the leisure industry. Tempus Global was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2011, and it covers the areas of air tickets, tourism, travel management and internet finance.
Blackstone had merged and purchased the majority shares of TMA and Maldivian Air Taxi in 2013 for USD 98 million (MVR 1.5 billion).
TMA boasts a fleet of 48 seaplanes and operates over 100,000 flights to more than 60 resort islands across the archipelago every year.