Trans Maldivian Airways valued at US$700 million for potential sale

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The Carlyle Group is seeking investors for the sale of Trans Maldivian Airways with the world’s largest seaplane operator valued up to $700 million, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Carlyle and co-investors have held initial talks with potential advisers for the divestment of TMA amid preliminary interest, but “no final decision has been made and the owners could still decide to retain the asset for longer”.

Along with capital management firms King Street and Davidson Kempner, the Carlyle Group – a U.S-based multinational private equity and financial services corporation with US$325 billion of assets under management – became the new owners of TMA in July 2021 after purchasing a majority stake from buyout firm Bain Capital under a debt restructuring deal.

Bain and Chinese conglomerate Tempus Group acquired TMA from Blackstone Group in a leveraged buyout deal worth US$500 million in 2017. After the sale to Carlyle, they retained minority stakes, according to Reuters.

Established in 1989 with a helicopter fleet, TMA now serves more than one million passengers annually with seaplane transfers from the Velana International Airport to more than 80 resorts across the country.