Three contenders shortlisted for acquisition of ailing SriLankan Airlines



Sri Lanka’s Hayleys PLC makes the shortlist

Strong international partner from Qatar is also in the ring

By Sanath Nanayakkare

The Cabinet of Ministers has announced a significant advancement in the privatisation process of Sri Lankan Airlines, a press release issued by Kanchana Kodituwakku, Director-Group Communications at Supreme Global Holdings indicates.

The press release indicates that the Cabinet has narrowed down the field of potential acquirers to three contenders from the initial six bidders. They are namely; Sherisha/Supreme Global Consortium, Air Asia Consulting and Hayleys PLC.

According to the press release, Sherisha/Supreme Global Consortium is a ‘strong’ alliance between Supreme Global Holdings and Sherisha Technologies Pvt Ltd, with substantial backing from MBS Investments, the investment arm of the private office of Sheikh Nayef Bin Eid Al Thani of Qatar.

The shortlisting marks a pivotal step towards the revitalization of the ailing airline as many had argued that SriLankan Airlines wouldn’t get a credible buyer in the foreseeable future as it was not attractive to any aviation investors.

Brief accounts of the three companies shortlisted to further engage in the acquisition process are as follows.

Sherisha/Supreme Global Consortium: This consortium is an alliance between Supreme Global Holdings and SHERISHA TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE LIMITED, with substantial backing from MBS Investments, the investment arm of the Private Office of Sheikh Nayef Bin Eid Al Thani of Qatar. Supreme Global Holdings, led by R.M. Manivannan, is known for its substantial contributions to Sri Lanka’s economic stability, including extending of credit during the recent energy crisis. The consortium’s strategic and financial potential is aimed at redefining the future trajectory of Sri Lankan Airlines, enhancing its international competitiveness.

Air Asia Consulting: A well-established name in aviation consulting, known for its expertise in airline operations, strategic planning, and turnaround strategies. Their involvement suggests a focus on operational efficiencies and expansion into new markets, promising a fresh perspective on the management and growth of Sri Lankan Airlines.

Hayleys PLC: One of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified conglomerates, with interests spanning from agriculture to transportation and logistics. Their inclusion in the shortlist brings a deep understanding of the local business landscape potentially enhancing the operational logistics and domestic connectivity of the airline.

The engagement with these shortlisted entities will be aimed at accelerating the privatization process, ensuring that the future of Sri Lankan Airlines aligns with strategic, financial, and operational enhancements. This initiative is part of a broader effort to stabilize and grow one of Sri Lanka’s most vital economic assets.

The Cabinet’s decision reflects a commitment to a transparent and strategic approach to privatization, ensuring the best possible outcome for the airline and its stakeholders. As the process moves forward, the implications for regional cooperation, particularly in light of the involvement of international partners like Qatar, indicate a promising horizon for Sri Lankan Airlines and its role in South Asian aviation,” Supreme Global Holdings stated.