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The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has announced the extension of the share trading freeze on Kenya Airways (KQ) for a further 12 months.
In a statement on Wednesday, the capital markets regulator said the extension is meant to allow the airline to complete its operational and corporate restructuring, which commenced in 2020.
"The extension of suspension from trading the company’s shares will remain in force for an additional twelve (12) months, with effect from January 5th, 2023. All shareholders, investors and the general public are asked to take note of the suspension," CMA said.
KQ’s shares were first suspended from trading in July 2020 after MPs started reviewing the law that would pave the way for the government to take full control of the carrier. The nationalization plan has since been dropped.
The Kenya government owns a 48.9 percent stake in the airline followed by 10 lenders who converted their debt to a 38 percent stake. Other shareholders include Air France-KLM (7.8 percent), employees (2.4 percent), and others at 2.8 percent.
Last month, President Ruto met officials of Delta Air Lines during his visit to the United States, where he launched a bid to sell a controlling stake in Kenya Airways.
“I’m willing to sell the whole of Kenya Airways Plc. I’m not in the business of running an airline that just has a Kenyan flag, that’s not my business,” Ruto told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Biden in Washington, DC.
“Discussions with Delta are at a preliminary stage. The government is looking for partnerships that will make Kenya Airways a profitable entity whatever that means, in whatever configuration, whatever form it takes,” he added.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said the government prefers a cash-rich foreign airline as a strategic investor in a plan that could offer the cash-strapped airline aviation expertise and cut its reliance on Treasury for operational cash.
Kenya Airways narrowed its half-year loss to Sh9.88 billion ($82.33 million) in the six months ending June 2022 from Sh11.48 billion ($95.66 million) in the same period in 2021.