December 23, 2019: South Africa's Competition Commission has confirmed that it has approved South African based Comair’s acquisition of Star Air Cargo of South Africa, which is an aircraft leasing company. Comair said in May that had entered into an agreement with Sundrops Investments Proprietary, Smashing Star Investments Proprietary, and Marcel Liebenberg to acquire all shares and claims in Star Air Cargo (SAC) Proprietary and Star Air Maintenance Proprietary for ZAR75 million rand ($5.14 million) plus profit share payments, the sum of which is capped at ZAR250 million ($17.14 million).
Although concerns relating to the transaction have been raised by third parties, the commission said in a statement that it has recommended that the proposed merger be approved without conditions.
Comair is South Africa’s second-oldest airline after South African Airways (SAA). Founded in 1947, it operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee and the kulula.com, a low-cost carrier in South Africa. Comair operates 26 Boeing aircraft, of which 10 B737-400s and 9 B737-800s are owned and 7 B737-800s being leased. It is a current customer of SAC.
Star Air operates a fleet of just 10 aircraft – five B737-300s and five B737-300Fs. Star Air customers currently consist of LAM Mozambique Airlines and BidAir Cargo.
Comair's management is planning to meet South African Airways' (SAA) recently appointed business rescue practitioner, Les Matuson, to discuss the more than ZAR1 billion rand ($69 million) settlement won against SAA in February. The airline filed for bankruptcy protection proceedings on December 5.
An important part of the acquisition is Star Air Maintenance, which provides maintenance services out of O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Recently, Comair appointed a new group CEO Wrenelle Stander. She is an airline industry veteran who has held previous positions as MD of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company, director general of the South African Department of Transport, and deputy CEO of South African Civil Aviation Authority.