UPDATE 1-Bidders make improved offers for Portugal's TAP airline

viernes 5 de junio de 2015 15:16 GYT

(Adds Neeleman comments)

By Andrei Khalip and Sergio Goncalves

LISBON, June 5 (Reuters) - The Portuguese government on Friday received improved offers for the indebted flag carrier TAP from the two bidding consortia, which each involve Brazil-based aviation tycoons.

"The privatisation process remains competitive ... We have two improved offers, which is a good sign in principle," Transport Secretary Sergio Monteiro told reporters.

He declined to comment on the offers, adding that the state property holding company Parpublica now had five days to analyse them before the government decides which, if any, is acceptable.

One consortium is led by Brazilian-Colombian investor German Efromovich, who controls Latin America's Avianca via his holding Synergy.

He made the only bid for TAP in a failed attempt to sell it in 2012. His offer then was rejected because of a problem with financial guarantees.

The rival consortium is a holding company including American-Brazilian investor David Neeleman and Portuguese bus company owner Humberto Pedrosa. Neeleman is the founder of U.S. airline JetBlue and the CEO of Azul Brazilian Airlines.

In a written statement sent to Reuters, Neeleman said fleet renewal was an important part of his consortium's offer. TAP operates a fleet of 77 planes with 2,500 weekly flights, many of them to Brazil, with which Portugal has historic ties.   Continuación...