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Gerry’s Group, Arif Habib among bidders for Pakistan Airline

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Arif habib

Pakistan looking to sell majority stake in state-owned carrier

Deadline to submit initial bids extended until May 18

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani business tycoon Arif Habib and Gerry’s Group are among the initial ten bidders seeking to purchase a majority stake in state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Habib and Gerry’s Managing Director Akram Wali Muhammad confirmed that they’ve submitted bids for the carrier in messages sent to Bloomberg. Three private-sector airlines operating on domestic routes have also bid, privatization minister Abdul Aleem Khan said in a briefing earlier without disclosing the exact names.

The extension announced in a statement by Minister for Investment and Privatisation Abdul Aleem Khan came a day before the expressions of interest had originally been due. He said 10 companies had already expressed an interest.

“The Board accorded approval for extension in the date for submission of interests on the request of interested parties,” he said, referring to the Privatisation Commission Board he leads.

Arif Habib, Pakistan International Airlines and Gerry’s Group did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment

Pakistan’s government has previously said it was putting on the block a stake of between 51% and 100% in the loss-making airline as part of reforms urged by the International Monetary Fund.

The disposal of the flag carrier is a step that past elected governments have steered away from as it is likely to be highly unpopular, but progress on the privatisation will help cash-strapped Pakistan pursue further funding talks with the IMF.

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