Aerolineas Argentinas set for renationalisation

ARGENTINA is to renationalise Aerolineas Argentinas (AA) and Austral after the government accused the owner, Marsans, of mismanagement. The airlines have suffered from industrial disputes and flight cancellations for months. They have also run up a US$900 million debt.

Spanish-owned Marsans agreed in July too sell both airlines back to the government but the talks failed when they were given very different valuations by auditors. The government stepped in to take control in November.

The move was widely accepted in Argentina, especially from the airlines’ 9,000 workers and their union. However, Marsans denies mismanagement and has sworn to complain to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in the US. Spanish business is also upset and opposition parties and business leaders have warned that nationalisation will drive away investment.

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